By Michelle Graff
The so-called “Subway Garnet” is a 9-pound, 10-ounce almandine garnet with a total of 24 facets. It was discovered under West 35th Street in New York City back in 1885. (Photo (c) AMNH/C. Chesek)
New York--The New York Times recently ran a short feature on the 9-pound, 10-ounce garnet discovered in a New York City sewer and given a very polite, if somewhat misleading, moniker.

The “Subway Garnet” is an almandine garnet found eight feet under West 35th Street in August 1885, during a sewer excavation. According to the Gemological Institute of America, almandine (also called almandite) is one of the five species of garnet that are commercially important as gems. The others are: pyrope, spessartine, grossular (grossularite), and andradite. 

The Times spotlighted the rock, which is currently being kept in a drawer at the American Museum of Natural History, in one of its “From The Vault” features that ran online Dec. 24, though the stone already may be familiar to the colored gemstone trade. The huge rock was, according to another, older article in the Times, the centerpiece of the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in 1998.   

Though a curator at the museum told the newspaper that he’s hopeful to see The Subway Garnet inch its way out of the vault before he retires, the official word the American Museum of Natural History gave National Jeweler was this: “There are no current plans to put the Subway Garnet on display.”

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