The birthstone for January is the garnet, a beautiful semi-precious stone that has been around since Egyptian times. The garnet belongs to a group of rock-forming silicate minerals and is commonly known as a red gemstone. It can in fact, appear in many different colors. It’s found in many places around the world.
The name “garnet” is taken from the Latin word “granatum” which translates to “pomegranate” – no doubt because some varieties of garnet do look a little like the seeds found in pomegranate fruit. In terms of size, garnet can be found in tiny fragments right through to forms that are a similar size to an apple.
It’s possible to find garnet in shades of green, orange, yellow, brown, purple, pink, colorless and even black. Because many people believe the garnet to be a red gemstone, the stone in other colors can sometimes be confused with other types of gemstones.
Out of all the colors of garnet, green gems are the most valuable and are very rare. Pure red garnets are also seen as precious and therefore fetch a high value. The garnet gemstone is very strong and usually won’t tarnish or break, allowing its wearer to enjoy its brilliance for many years.
Legend and lore of the garnet gemstone
Historically, the garnet was worn by ancient Egyptians as jewelry – discoveries have been made in tombs and graves that date as far back as 3100 B.C. Garnet gemstones were also used as talismans by ancient warriors and crusaders who thought the stone would bring them victory. They believed that these precious stones would protect them against injuries, accidents and death.
Like many gemstones, garnets were thought to hold medicinal powers and were often placed inside wounds to help stop bleeding and promote clotting. In Medieval times, the garnet was said to protect its wearer from wounds, poison and even bad dreams.
Healing power and other meanings of the garnet gemstone
Nowadays the garnet is thought to be a lucky stone that promotes peace, good health and prosperity. In particular, the garnet is linked to the good health of the heart, lungs and blood. It’s said that the garnet helps to eliminate inflammatory disorders, puts a stop to haemorrhaging and reduces body toxins.
The garnet is a sensual gemstone, one that can bring about passion and love as well as helping to balance the emotions, aid tranquillity and peacefulness in its wearer’s life.
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*Images courtesy of Flickr