The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “Garanatus,” or granatum, meaning ‘seedlike’, in reference to a pomegranate. This reference makes sense as small garnets look like the bright red seeds you find inside in a pomegranate. In Old Spain, the pomegranate was a favourite, and as a result of this, so was the garnet. In Spanish astrology, the garnet once represented the sun.
According to legend, Noah used a finely cut, glowing garnet to illuminate the ark during those dark wet days and nights. Hebrew writers include the garnet as one of the twelve gems in Aaron’s breastplate. Christian tradition considered the blood-red garnet as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. The Koran holds that the garnet illuminates the Fourth Heaven of the Moslems.
Thousands of years ago, red garnet necklaces adorned the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs, and were entombed with their mummified corpses as prized possessions for the afterlife.
The term carbuncle was often used in ancient times to refer to red garnets, although it was used for almost any red stone. Carbuncle was thought to be one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God.
The Greeks said it guarded children from drowning. It was also thought to be potent against poisons. Greek mythology, a pomegranate is referenced as a gift of love and is associated with eternity.
In ancient Rome, signet rings with carved garnets were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents. The Roman scholar Pliny (23 to 79 AD), said red garnets were among the most widely traded gems. Plato had his portrait engraved on a garnet by a Roman engraver.
In the Middle Ages (about 475 to 1450 AD), red garnet was favoured by clergy and nobility.
The stones were thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver, as well as haemorrhages.
The famous Bohemian (Czechoslovakia) garnet deposits in central Europe around 1500 was a tremendous source of garnet. Many Bohemian castles and churches had magnificent interiors decorated with garnet. Bohemian garnets are famous even today, known for their small but beautiful stones set close to each other resembling a pomegranate. The King of Saxony is said to have had a garnet of over 465 carats.
Garnet is the birthstone for January and the stone that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage.
Garnet is actually a group name for the silicate minerals almandine, pyrope, spessartine, grossular, andradite, Mozambique and uvarovite, so the garnet is a far more diverse gem than its name suggests. precious green uvarovite garnet from the Urals, is an almost priceless gemstone due to the fact that it only forms in fairly large crystals.
Nowadays, Garnet remains as a gift of love and is traditionally given for the 19th anniversary of marriage. It may also be used as a gift for two-year and six-year anniversaries. Moreover, Garnet is symbolic of a quick return and separated love, since Hades had given a pomegranate to Persephone before she left him to ensure her speedy return. Therefore, Garnet may be given to a beloved before embarking on a trip, as it is believed to heal the broken bonds of lovers.
It has been said that a garnet engraved with the figure of a lion is an all around effective charm that will protect and preserve health, cure the wearer of all disease, bring him honours, and guard him from all the possible perils in traveling. It was also said to warn the wearer of approaching danger and was long ago carried as a protective talisman. One writer wrote that if a garnet loses its lustre and shine, it is a sure sign of coming disaster. There may be an affinity between garnets and the warrior tradition. It is recorded that garnets have been used as pellets by a group of native people of India, shot from bows. The tribal belief was that the stone would inflict wounds, which would be particularly bloody.
Associates with the base and heart chakras, garnet cleanses and re-energises the chakras. It revitalises, purifies and balances energy, bringing serenity or passion as appropriate. Inspires love and devotion. Garnet balances the sex drive and alleviates emotional disharmony. It activates and strengthens the survival instinct, bringing courage and hope. Stimulates past-life recall. Sharpens perceptions of oneself and others. Garnet removes inhibitions and taboos. It opens the heart and bestows self-confidence.
Garnet regenerates the body and stimulates the metabolism. It treats disorders of the spine and spinal fluid, bone, cellular structure and composition. Purifies the heart, lungs, blood and regenerates DNA. Garnet boosts the immune system and energy levels.