Red garnets were the most commonly used gemstones in the Late Antique Roman world, and the Migration Period art of the "barbarian" peoples who took over the territory of the Western Empire. They were especially used inlaid in gold cells in the cloisonné technique, a style often just called garnet cloisonné, found from Anglo-Saxon England, as at Sutton Hoo, to the Black Sea.
Pure crystals of garnet are still used as gemstones. The gemstone varieties occur in shades of green, red, yellow and orange. In the USA it is known as the birthstone for January. It is the state mineral of Connecticut, New York's gemstone, and star garnet (garnet with rutile asterisms) is the state gemstone of Idaho.
Garnet sand is a good abrasive, and a common replacement for silica sand in sand blasting. Alluvial garnet grains which are rounder are more suitable for such blasting treatments. Mixed with very high pressure water, garnet is used to cut steel and other materials in water jets. For water jet cutting, garnet extracted from hard rock is suitable since it is more angular in form, therefore more efficient in cutting.