One of my favourite gemstones is garnet - it's so versatile, colourful and beautiful.
You probably know that the birthstone for January is garnet, but did you know that it's also the gift for a second, sixth and nineteenth Anniversary?
Commonly, garnets are seen in shades of red. However, they also come in an extraordinary range of beautiful colours including orange, purple, yellow and green. Each hue is known by a different name:
- Pyrope and Almandine range from purple to red.
- Spessartine is oranges and yellows.
- Andradite is mostly yellow to green. The gem variety is known as Demantoid.
- Grossular may have the widest range in colour, from colourless through yellow to reddish orange and orangey red, as well as a strong vibrant green gem known as Tsavorite (so named by Tiffany & Co).
- There are even garnets that change colour from blue to purple when seen in different lighting.
Legends & Beliefs
Garnet is said to bring love, luck, health, loyalty and friendship to people who are born in January.
In Medieval times garnets were thought to cure depression, protect against bad creams and to purge the liver of disease.
During the Roman Empire, people believed that garnet protected travellers and that if it sparkled it warned of approaching danger. It was typical for noble patriarchs of the Roman Empire to have carved signet rings made from garnet
Ancient Chinese believed that the red gems represented the souls of tigers transformed into precious gems after death and Navajo Indians in Utah used the gemstones as adornments to bring luck and protection to the tribe.
It is even said that Noah used a lantern made from garnet to steer the Ark through the darkness!
Origin of Name
The name 'garnet' comes from the Latin word granatus in reference to the pomegranate as it's seeds are similar in shape and colour to garnet crystals.
Hardness of Gemstone
The different types of garnet range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness.