If your birthday is in January, then your birthstone is the glorious garnet! A symbol of eternal trust and friendship, the term garnet is derived from the Greek word granatum (meaning pomegranate) because of its resemblance to the pomegranate seed. In ancient times, the stone was said to have the power to ensure good physical and mental health and safe travels. It was also believed that possessing it would promote better business deals.
In the former Czechoslovakia, garnet jewellery dating back to the Bronze Agewas found in ancient graves. As far back as 5000 years ago, the Egyptians used garnets as inlays jewellery, while in Sumeria (what is now southern Iraq) and Sweden evidence of garnets have been found dating back to 2300 BC. Garnets were also found at the excavations at Tillya Tepe (Hill of Gold or Golden Mound) in what is now northern Afghanistan, which yielded an invaluable look back at ancient Persian life.
Ancient warriors believed that garnets brought victory. During The Crusades,they were used as protection against wounds and accidents. Conversely,Asiatic warriors believed that garnets used as bullets were much more lethal
than lead bullets.
Christians see the garnet as a symbol of the blood of Christ, and in the story of Noah, it was a garnet that was finely cut and glowing which lit the ark during the flood. It was also said to be one of the twelve gemstones in the breastplate of Aaron. Other religions also hold the garnet in great esteem. According to the Koran, it was the garnet that illuminated the fourth Heaven of the Moslems.
Aside from red, garnets come in a rainbow of colours. This colour variety comes from metals such as manganese, iron, calcium, and aluminum within the structure of the stone. Some varieties even have mineral fibres within them that creates the illusion of a four or six-rayed star within them. Green garnets are the most highly prized and rare and are priced accordingly. After green, red garnets are the most sought after.
Garnets are also used in industrial applications as well as jewellery. Some varieties are used in sand form to sandblast and cut surfaces,and to filter water of impurities. Africa, Sri Lanka and India are the mostimportant sources of garnet today, while they are also found in Northand South America, Australia and Spain. The largest garnet everfound was 2.3 metres long and weighed approximately 37 tonnes.
In finishing, we hope you enjoy this prose about the garnet was committed to posterity in the 1870 Tiffany & Co. catalogue;
"By her who is this month was born
No gem save garnets shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity."