Garnet, the birthstone of January, is one of the less well-known gemstones. However, it’s history, origin and value are as exciting and valuable as the likes of rubies or sapphires. At Gems and Jewels, we value ourselves on providing the highest-quality gem and birthstones. Continue reading to find out more about the meaning and importance of garnet and why it might make an excellent addition to your collection.
The Meaning of Garnet
Although it’s known for representing the January birthstone, as well as the 2nd year of marriage, garnet’s meaning has nothing to do with months of the year of anniversaries. The name comes from the Latin for “seedlike” (“Garanatus”), which is a reference to a pomegranate. And, when you look at garnet, it’s easy to see the comparison as small garnet gemstones look like the seeds you find inside the fruit.
The History And Origin Of Garnet
The origin of garnet is hard to pin down because different varieties are found across the globe. Today, the like of pyrope is often mined in Brazil and parts of South America, yet it’s available elsewhere. India, Sri Lanka and Thailand also have pyrope garnet, and almandite is located in India too, as well as Brazil, Madagascar, and parts of the US. Spessartite, while again found in Brazil and Madagascar, is often situated in the Far East and Africa. China and Kenya are two of the most famous countries for mining and exporting spessartite garnet.
What isn’t in dispute is the age and value of garnet. Before Christ, the wealthiest men and women wore garnet as a sign of their stature in the community. A necklace covered in the gems has been found that dates back as far as 3,000 BC, proving its popularity throughout the ages. Of course, more famous, influential people also have a history of using garnet. Plato, the iconic Greek philosopher, had a portrait engraved on a piece of the birthstone, and an urban myth says the King of Saxony once had a gemstone over 465 carats.
Europeans were particularly fond of the crystals. In what is now the Czech Republic, the Bohemians decorated the interiors of their castles with the jewel. The Spanish, on the other hand, loved its red color and used it solely for jewelry.
It’s Metaphysical Properties
Garnet is famous for its metaphysical properties. One of its main features is its ability to revitalize, purify or balance energy. As a result, it is a gemstone that is synonymous with healing. Everything from cellular structure to the purification of the vital organs is said to occur thanks to garnet. Another reason it has this stigma is it is thought to alleviate emotional disharmony, bringing the mind and body closer together.
People with a garnet gemstone are believed to offer courage and hope because it activates the survival instinct, too.
Garnet Stone Colors
Aside from general properties, the different colors of the birthstone provide properties and meanings. Red is the most common shade of garnet, and it is well-represented by love. For one thing, it is a fiery stone that is thought to boost the libido. However, it’s more than sex. Red garnet is a symbol of commitment as brings warmth and devotion, trust and honesty. Red represents anger also, and this shade of garnet is said to feelings of anger, especially the ones aimed at yourself.
Green is another color that is often found throughout the world, and it brings a unique meaning. For the most part, it is synonymous with self-empowerment and high thinking or power. Why? It’s because green is an earthly color and encourages you to consider your connection with the world and everything in or around it.
Orange and yellow garnet are forms of the birthstone that have a connection with energy. Pure Spessartine is yellow or gold, and it radiates the colours in the same way the sun gives off its light. Therefore, both yellow and gold garnet crystals are linked with increased confidence. When there is total light and zero darkness, there is no need to move in fear.
What Garnet Represents
Found throughout religious texts, the two representations that garnet embodies are light and life. In Jewish, Christian and Islamic holy books, the gem was described as doing both at different times throughout civilization. For example, Noah used a chunk of garnet to illuminate the Ark, according to accounts of the legend. Hebrew scriptures describe how Aaron’s breastplate was filled with garnet gemstones, Aaron being the first High Priest of the Israelites tasked with spreading the word of God. Christians also see garnet as a symbol of Jesus’ sacrifice when he gave his life.
Old civilizations (Greek) associate garnet with love and eternity due to the boundless, pomegranate-esque seeds. That’s why it is used as a symbol of marriage to this day. Greeks use garnet to symbolize safe journeys as Hades gave a gem to Persephone before she left him.
Garnet Jewelry As An Investment
As a gemstone in its own right, garnet makes an excellent investment. Even the red shades, the most common and least valuable, are worth several hundred dollars and maintain their value. To make a high return on your investment, you should consider the following:
- Look for green varieties: Because they are the rarest forms, they are the most valuable in terms of monetary value. Red can be worth a considerable sum, too, but it has to be vivid in color.
- Source different cuts: Like all gemstones and birthstones, the cut impacts its worth. Tsavorites and demantoids are perfect options as they retain most of the weight of the carat.
- Don’t dismiss a flawed garnet: Transparency is usually preferable, but not when it comes to ‘asterism.’ It’s a pattern caused by inclusions in the stone and is valued for its rarity.