The name of the stone, garnet, comes from the Latin word for pomegranate, whose glistening, jewel-like seeds the most common form of garnet resembles. Because of that association, garnets acquired many of the qualities and myths associated with the seeded fruit. Like the pomegranate, the garnet is said to confer fertility and bring righteousness and healing – making it the perfect stone to be given as an engagement gift. In fact, long before diamonds took that title, garnets were a traditional engagement stone. The gemstone for January is Garnet.
Chemically, garnets are not one stone, but an entire family of gems. There are six species of garnet – almandine (wine red), pyrope (brownish to orange red), spessartine (orange brown to golden brown – root beer color), andradite (yellowish brown to green), grossular (colorless to green, including yellow, brown and pink) and uvarovite (brilliant green). They all share a common cubic crystalline structure that gives them superior refractive qualities, making them brilliant, fiery stones.
Myths and Legends::
There are many myths and legends surrounding the garnet. Throughout history, garnets have held a place in ritual symbolism. It is said that garnet was one of the twelve stones in Aaron’s breastplate, representing the tribe of Judah, and that King Solomon wore garnet adornments when he went into battle.
Garnets have been known to Man for thousands of years. Noah, it is said, used a garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night. Garnets are also found in jewellery from early Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. Many an early explorer and traveller liked to carry a garnet with him, for the garnet was popular as a talisman and protective stone, as it was believed to light up the night and protect its bearer from evil and disaster.
But even before Biblical times, garnets were worn and treasured. Garnet necklaces have been found in graves in Czechoslovakia dating back to the Bronze Age. Garnet stones have been buried with warriors and nobles in Ancient Egypt (3100 B.C.), Sumeria (2100 B.C.) and Sweden (2000 B.C.).
Garnets have been worn by royalty and peasants alike. Because they are so plentiful in the Earth’s crust, small garnets are not prohibitively expensive – but their enduring beauty and hardness make them a gemstone fit for a king – or a queen. Both Queen Victoria and Mary Queen of Scots are said to have favored garnet jewelry during their reigns.
Healing and Mystical properties::
The Garnet is a stone of purity and truth as well as a symbol of love and compassion. Garnet combats depression and lethargy.Garnet protects against depression and impure thoughts. Cures fever and promotes good health. Its energy is balancing and peaceful. This stone of passion stimulates the sexual drive. Garnet gives energy and courage. It is said to encourage robust good health and sexual desire, enhance the wearer’s imagination. Garnet symbolizes fire, faith, courage, truth, grace, compassion, constancy and fidelity. It also offers protection to the traveler. Garnet is the stone of passionate devotion.Helps to become motivated and productive, and attracts good luck in business ventures. The Garnet is known as the stone for a successful business.
Garnets are also believed to have the power to staunch blood, to offer protection and healing from poisons and to purify the liver. Since ancient times, people have believed that garnets can help spark mental acuity and clarity, lighten the mood and bring peace and solace to the grieving. Over the years, garnets have acquired the meaning of fidelity, loyalty and love.
One use of garnets that is surprisingly at odds with the rest of its healing and enlightening reputation is the use to which it was put by Asiatic tribes. In 1892, the Hanza used bullets fashioned of garnet against British troops, believing that garnet would be more deadly than lead.
Sources of Garnet::
Today, garnets mostly come from African countries, but also from India, Russia and Central and South America. In USA garnet has been obtained in Arizona, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Utah, Florida, California and Virginia. Notable quantities of garnets have been also found in Czech Republic and Spain. The skilled hands of cutters the world over work them into many classical shapes, but also increasingly into modern, imaginative designer cuts. Garnets remain convincing with their natural, unadulterated beauty, the variety of their colours and their tremendous brilliance.