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I found some garnets at Garnet Hill near Ely, Nevada. We have been using vinegar, a wire brush, nail files, etc. trying to remove the rock around them so we can use them for jewelry.Any ideas on how to dissolve the rock without damaging the garnet would be appreciated.
Garnets from that area of Nevada are most likely in a matrix rock called Rhyolite. Rhyolite is the volcanic version of Granite. It is quite hard and not easily dissolved. You could try Muriatic acid, but USE EXTREME CAUTION handling it, and follow ALL precautions on the label.
If you visit a lot of rock sites they tell you to clean the rock with muriatic acid. It is also recommended to check on the region that the granet was found because in some regions they have small veins in the rock that could damage the rocks. I also know that it is possible to clean up granet in a rock tumbler. Have you tried tumbling the rocks to get off the excess rocks around the granet?
I have at least 50 lb rock full of garnet, but trying any method to get to the gem, seems impossible