In this quick and inexpensive tutorial, we are going to show you how to make a DIY Garnet Dig. These excavations are super easy to make and are a great teaching resource to include in your next lesson or discussion about garnets, gemstones, geology, and more.


Fun Fact: Garnets are the birthstone of January. 


Be sure to check out our Digital Dig and get real garnets and garnet digs kits for free!  Answer trivia and earn points you can redeem for free rocks, minerals, fossils, seashells, excavation kits and more!





Plaster of Paris


Mixing Bowl

Wooden spoon

Measuring cups

Popsicle sticks – Popsicle sticks are inexpensive, readily available, and make great excavation tools.

Safety goggles or glasses – You we need to provide or borrow a set for each student.

Optional – Brushes and magnifying glasses.

Small Styrofoam coffee cup

Garnets - You can find these at your local rock shop, buy bags or rough garnets online, or get free garnets here to use in your DIY Garnet Dig Kit.


Check out our Gemstone Journey Extreme excavation kit that comes with garnet, amethyst, rubies, emeralds, topaz, and many more real gemstones! Excavating Adventures has a kit for everyone. Explore dig kits filled with rocks, minerals, fossils, gemstones, seashells, and more!




  1. Place some garnets in the cup.
  2. Mix 1 cups sand with 1/3 cup Plaster of Paris.
  3. Add 1/3 cup of water and mix until you have a pancake batter consistency.
  4. Pour the mixture over the garnets.
  5. Wait about five minutes to allow the mixture to set and firm up.
  6. Add some more garnets. This will put some garnets at different levels in the excavation.
  7. Place the DIY Garnet Dig in front of a fan overnight until it is completely dry.
  8. Distribute the excavation, excavation tools, and safety goggles to your Excavating Adventurer and have fun watching them dig in and discover the awesome garnets you have hidden inside.


Garnet Galore: Exploring the Gemstone of Fiery Beauty!

Fun Facts about Garnet:

  1. Garnet is a gemstone known for its rich red color, but it can also occur in various hues, including green, orange, purple, and even colorless varieties.

  2. The name "garnet" is derived from the Latin word "granatus," which means "seed-like," as some garnets resemble the seeds of pomegranate fruit.

  3. Garnet has a long history and has been used in jewelry for thousands of years, dating back to ancient Egypt and the Roman Empire.

  4. Besides being a birthstone for January, garnet is also associated with the second wedding anniversary, making it a special gemstone for celebrations.

  5. Garnet is not a single mineral but a group of minerals with similar crystal structures and chemical compositions, including almandine, pyrope, and spessartine.

  6. Almandine garnet is often deep red in color, while pyrope garnet is a vibrant red, and spessartine garnet can range from orange to reddish-brown.

  7. Some garnets exhibit a property called "color change," where the gemstone appears to change color under different lighting conditions, adding to its allure.

  8. Garnets are relatively hard gemstones, ranking 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, making them suitable for various types of jewelry.

  9. The largest garnet ever discovered, called the "American Golden," weighed a staggering 9 pounds and measured about 5 inches in diameter!

  10. Garnet gemstones have been associated with qualities like passion, energy, and protection throughout history, believed to bring strength and positive vibes to the wearer.

  11. Garnets can be found in many locations around the world, including India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Madagascar, and the United States.

  12. Some ancient cultures believed that garnets illuminated the night and provided guidance to travelers, serving as a symbol of light and safety.

Remember, garnet is like a fiery treasure that ignites the imagination and adds a touch of elegance and passion to the world of gemstones!


Excavating Adventures Pro Tip: Styrofoam containers make great molds for excavations. Once the excavation is dry, the Styrofoam is easy to peel away to reveal the excavation inside. 


Take some time to explore the Excavating Adventures subscription plans and extensive store filled with digs kits and excavation activities. We have monthly excavations that get delivered right to your door, Build Your Own excavations, a blog filled with amazing excavation ideas, trivia, tons of free stuff and much, much, more!


Question 1: What is the birthstone for the month of January? A) Ruby B) Diamond C) Garnet D) Sapphire

Correct answer: C) Garnet

Question 2: Which variety of garnet is often deep red in color? A) Pyrope garnet B) Almandine garnet C) Spessartine garnet D) Tsavorite garnet

Correct answer: B) Almandine garnet

Question 3: What is the hardness range of garnet on the Mohs scale? A) 2-3 B) 4-5 C) 6-7 D) 8-9

Correct answer: C) 6-7