The deep, glossy red color of garnet resembles the juicy seeds of a pomegranate, which is perhaps why its name is derived from the Latin word granatum, meaning pomegranate seed. In Greek mythology, a pomegranate was often given as a gift of passion and associated with eternal love. In ancient history, travelers wore garnet gemstones because they were believed to light up the night and provide protection from nightmares and accidents.
Garnets were used in burial jewelry and carved signet rings to proclaim royalty during the Bronze Age (300 BC). Garnets were one of the most popular gemstones of the Vikings and Anglo-Saxons, as revealed in the stunning jewelry and sword fittings in the Staffordshire Hoard because they believed the blood-red stone improved their fighting prowess.
In the middle ages, garnet was commonly believed to guard against poison. Royals would often drop a garnet gemstone into a glass of wine to ensure they were not poisoned to death. Garnets were also worn by the crusaders as an aid to safely find their way home. Eastern European folktales speak of garnets being worn around the neck to guard against night-wandering vampires. And in Victorian times, the gem was used in engagement rings and other women’s jewelry, to mark fidelity in love.
Non-gem-grade garnets are frequently used in sandpaper and other grinding and polishing materials.
Garnet Metaphysical Properties
Garnet symbolizes a quick return to a separated love, fertility and feminine life force.
Legend states that Hades gifted a pomegranate to Persephone before she left his domain to ensure a speedy and safe return. When she did return, the fruit transformed into a handful of the red gemstones.
A garnet stone is often gifted to a loved one before they embark on travel. Garnets are commonly believed to aid in the healing of broken bonds of love. Garnets are also known to aid in the treatment of melancholy and depression by acting as a heart and blood stimulant.
Garnet is thought to be extremely beneficial in the realm of business. The stone can attract people to the wearer, which can help provide personal and business success. It is especially beneficial for people wanting to start home businesses.
Garnet Geological Properties
Garnet is a name used to describe a diverse group of silicate minerals that include almandine, pyrope, spessartine, grossular, andradite, Mozambique and uvarovite. The deep wine red color of almandine garnet results from iron and chromium and the name “garnet” tends to apply to this variety. However, garnets are found in other colors, some of which have their own Gem Note entries:
- Demantoid (olive green to emerald green)
- Grossular (yellow)
- Hessonite (orange to orange-brown)
- Leuco-garnet (colorless)
- Melanite (extremely dark red to black)
- Pyrope (pale pink to medium red)
- Rhodolite (pale red to purplish)
- Spessartite (orange to orange-red)
- Topazolite (yellow)
- Tsavorite (green to emerald green)
- Uvavorite (green)
Garnets can display different colors in different types of light and occasionally will showcase faint four-rayed asterism. Garnets are found in metamorphic and igneous rocks. They form under extremely high temperatures and pressure. Garnet deposits are found in Africa, India, Russia, South America, Madagascar, Pakistan, and the United States.
|Color||Deep red to bright violet-red|
|Hardness||7 to 7-1/2 (Mohs)|
|Specific Gravity||3.65 – 3.80|
|Refractive Index||1.730 – 1.760|
Proper Care of Garnet
Clean garnet stones with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Rinse the stone well after washing it. Ultrasonic treatments may be used for most garnets, except for the demantoid variety. Steam cleaning garnets may cause color changes from the heat. Protect garnet from sharp blows, extreme temperature changes, and harsh chemicals. To learn more about garnet and other gemstones, order your copy of Walter Schumann’s revised and expanded edition of ”Gemstones of the World”.
Garnet is the official birthstone of January. The rich red stone mixes well with gold-colored metals and the soft pink colors of pink sea opal glass beads, pink opal gemstone beads and rose quartz gemstone beads. Garnet looks attractive in both silver and gold.