Can Garnet Scratch Glass? (And Other Garnet Facts)

Yes, garnet is a stone that is hard enough to scratch glass.

In the article that follows, you’ll learn more about garnet, as well as why it can scratch glass.

Can Garnet Scratch Glass? (EXPLAINED)

Generally, garnet rates a 7.5 to 8.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it hard enough to leave significant scratches in glass.

Garnet is not only a very hard mineral but this combined with the angular crystals that make up its structure makes garnet a useful abrasive in industry.

They never seem to go blunt or wear down, making garnets indispensable tools.

As they are easy to cut and polish, they make good gemstones as well.

Garnets are often thought of as “the poor man’s ruby” even though many garnets have a higher clarity than some rubies.

See also: Can Garnet Go In Water?

Differences Between Ruby and Garnet

Both gems are known for their brilliant red coloring.

Rubies are much harder, only a little softer than diamonds.

They’re also almost as rare as diamonds, making them far more expensive than the fairly common garnet.

A flawless ruby is even rarer while garnets are typically eye clean.

A garnet gemstone is usually sold after just some cutting, polishing and setting.

A ruby, on the other hand, is commonly heat treated to intensify the color.

Not only is the ruby rarer than a garnet, but more work goes into making it look good as a gemstone.

This is why the low maintenance garnet costs less, though it may look just as good if not better than a ruby.  

Uses of the Garnet 

Garnet has been used as a gemstone since antiquity, where it was often known as a “carbuncle”.

Jewelry with garnet gemstones have been found in Ancient Egyptian tombs.

For more practical purposes, powdered garnet is useful as an abrasive.

They are commonly used in waterjet cutting and abrasive blasting, also known as “sandblasting”.

The inert garnet with its high specific gravity makes it ideal for water filtration.

The pores are large enough to let in water but not big enough to allow contaminants through.

If you find very coarse sandpaper with dark red flecks, it may have been made with crushed garnet. 

Symbolism of the Garnet

Garnet is the birthstone of January.

Though this would cover both Capricorn and Aquarius, it is better suited to the sturdy and constant Capricorn.

The word “garnet” is from the Latin word “Garanatus” meaning “seedlike”.

Garnets were compared to the bright red seeds in the pomegranate.

Because of the myth of Hades and Persephone, both pomegranates and garnets symbolize lovers that are physically parted, but not apart in spirit.

Due to the garnet’s association with seeds, protection and passions that are devoted rather than flighty, the garnet can symbolize a strong woman.

For a sense of strength and resolve, you can meditate over a deep red garnet. 

History of the Garnet

Garnets have been prized for centuries, to the point that many people from those times were buried with their garnet jewelry.

Plato had his portrait carved on a garnet.

A garnet with a lion carved on it was considered a powerful protection talisman.

In Hebrew writings, the garnet was one of the gems in Aaron’s breastplate.

Christianity holds it as a symbol of sacrifice. Islam connects the garnet with the Fourth Heaven.

Ancient Greeks considered it a ward against drowning and poisoning.

In India, the garnet was a holy stone that would give enlightenment. 

Because garnets symbolize strength, protection and fidelity they were often used to decorate shields and weapons of knights.

In medieval times, the garnet was believed to ward of depression and bad dreams.

Where to Find Garnets

Garnets can be found in far-flung exotic locales such as Brazil, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Madagascar and India.

If you are in the United States, you can find garnets in Idaho, where it is the state stone. 

Here is where you can find the spectacular star garnet, a gem that sparkles in an almost 3D effect.

The Emerald Creek Garnet Area in northern Idaho allows adult rockhounds to dig for ten dollars a day and keep up to five pounds of stones.

Children between six and twelve are allowed to dig at half price.

Younger children are permitted for free. 

You will usually find garnet in metamorphic rock and occasionally in igneous rock. 

The Care and Keeping of the Garnet

If your garnet is perfectly unfractured, you can use an ultrasonic cleaner but steam cleaning is not recommended.

Warm soapy water is good for cleaning fractured stones.

While the garnet is sturdy, it can be scratched by harder stones such as topaz, diamond and ruby.

They can handle light fairly well and all but the harshest of chemicals.

Garnet does fracture easily so prevent it from receiving hard blows.

A microfiber or other soft cloth is good for buffing to bring out the garnet’s shine. 


The popular cartoon Steven Universe features an unusual character named Garnet.

She is not an individual but a spiritual and physical merging of two other alien beings named Ruby and Sapphire.

Garnet describes herself as an experience, the physical manifestation of two lovers wishing to form a permanent bond, a “fusion” as it’s known.

This is in keeping with the garnet gemstone symbolizing fidelity and devotion.

Garnet even has a signature song called “Stronger Than You” about how this love and devotion makes her strong in every sense of the word.

The garnet gemstone is indeed a strong mineral that can handle a little pressure and made into something beautiful with minimal effort. 

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can garnet scratch glass