Iron is by mass the most common element on Earth, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust. Pure iron is relatively soft, but is unobtainable by smelting. The material is significantly hardened and strengthened by impurities, in particular carbon, from the smelting process. A certain proportion of carbon (between 0.002% and 2.1%) produces steel, which may be up to 1000 times harder than pure iron.
Garnets are a group of silicate minerals that have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. All species of garnets possess similar physical properties and crystal forms, but differ in chemical composition. Garnet species are found in many colors including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink, and colorless, with reddish shades most common. The mineral group shows a range of hardness on the Mohs scale of about 6.5-7.5.