Garnet stones are popular gemstones that have been used in jewellery-making since ancient times. Garnet Jewellery has been discovered at several ancient Egyptian burials dating back to as far as 5000 BC. It’s an ode to the strength and durability of this beautiful gemstone.
Garnet is derived from the Latin word “granatus” which means ‘grain’ or ‘seed-like’ since red garnet stones appear like the red seed of a pomegranate. The garnet jewellery is usually designed with the dark red stones tightly and closely set together as in a pomegranate. Bohemian garnet jewellery is famous for this style.
Garnet stones were also popular in Victorian times. Some believe the word was derived from the old English word ‘gernet’ which means ‘dark red’.
Although red garnet stones are the most common and well-known, garnet stones are present in different colours such as pink, orange, yellow, purple, green, black, blue, brown and colourless. Blue Garnet Stone are the rarest and the most expensive of the lot.
Garnet stones are nesosilicates with the general formula X3Y2(SiO4)3, where X represents divalent cations such as Ca2+, Fe2+, Mg2+ etc. and Y represents trivalent cations such as Al3+, Fe3+, Cr3+ etc. The colour of the stone depends on the type of ions and the crystal structure of the silicate. Calcium garnets are green while Iron and Manganese garnets are usually red. Almandine, Pyrope, Spessartine, grossular, uvarovite etc. are some of the silicate minerals of garnet.
Blue garnets are pyrope-spessartine minerals with Vanadium. They are also called as colour-changing garnets because they change their colour from blue-green to purple-red depending on the viewing light. Colour-changing garnets are rare and expensive. Uvarovite is another rare bright green garnet.
Garnet stones are a part of ancient myths and legends. It is supposed to be one of the 12 gemstones on Aaron’s breastplate. According to stories, Noah used a large glowing garnet stone to illuminate the ark. Christians associate the dark red garnet stone with the blood and sacrifice of Christ.
Pomegranate has always been associated with fertility, abundance and good luck. Hence garnet stones are gifted to loved ones on second, sixth and 19th marriage anniversaries. Inspired by the Greek mythology of Hades and Persephone, garnet is also presented to a parting friend or loved one as assurance that they will be together again soon. Garnet is also the birthstone for those born in January and for those born under the Aquarius sign.
Due to their hardness, garnets are used as industrial abrasives. Garnet sand is used for water filtration.
Due to its red colour, some believe it is useful to treat and promote conditions related to blood, such as proper circulation of blood, healthy heart, production of hemoglobin etc. It is also believed to improve fertility and ignite passion. It is considered as a Talisman to ward off evil and bring good luck.