Congratulations! You have found a red Garnet gemstone! Garnet is January’s birthstone, and is prevalent in North Carolina, Russia, and Turkey. Garnets have been used since the Bronze Age, and Red Garnets were the most commonly used gemstones in the Late Antique Roman world. They were often used inlaid in gold in Anglo-Saxon England, as well. The word Garnet comes from the 14th century Middle English word gernet, meaning “dark red”.
Garnets form under extremely high temperatures and pressure. Geologists can actually use garnets as an indication of the temperatures and pressures at which the rock (where the garnets were found) was formed. The garnet occurs in generous quantities in certain parts of the world, even in small sand particles on many beaches, as well as in rock formations. Garnets are found in Africa, India, Russia, South America, Madagascar, Pakistan, and the United States.
Since garnet has a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale and indistinct cleavage, it is a durable gemstone that is suitable for all kinds of jewelry. It can be cleaned with a soft brush and soapy water, then rinsed well.