- Category: Gemstones by the Month
Garnet: January's gemstone
Garnet is a name given to over ten gemstones with similar chemical structure. Although red occurs most, there are also shades of green, pale to bright yellow and fiery-orange garnet. Some rare garnets even change colour from daylight to artificial light.
The name “garnet” derives from the Latin “granum” meaning "grain”. Describing the typically rounded shape of the gemstone and similar to pomegranate seeds. Garnet comes mainly from Africa, but also from India, Russia, central and south America.
Garnet makes good jewellery because it’s very hard, and so resistant to wear. Garnet is said to symbolize happiness as well as deep and enduring love and friendship.
Garnet has been found in jewellery from ancient Greece, Rome, and dating back to 3100 BC in Egypt. Oriental warriors made garnet bullets because they believed these would inflict more harm. Others thought garnet brightened the night because of its high refraction of light - explained Noah’s garnet lantern to steer his Ark.
Travellers’ wore garnets to protect against evil, poison and wounds. It was also believed to help depression and prevent nightmares. Red garnet in particular is said to break a fever, stop bleeding and to reduce inflammation.
Today, garnet is prized for its beauty rather than its magical powers. People like its naturalness, its brilliance, and colour of a sun-drenched Indian summer. Deep green garnets are the rarest and therefore expensive. Emerald green and colourless garnet is next rarest, followed by pure red.