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Garnet - Birthstone for January

January 13, 2021 2 min read

Garnet - Birthstone for January

By those who in this month are born

No gem save Garnets should be worn;

They will ensure your constancy,

True friendship and fidelity

The word “garnet” comes from the 14th century Middle English word gernet, meaning “dark red.” The word is derived from Latin granatum, which means “seed,” and is called so because of the gemstone’s resemblance to the beautifully red seeds of the pomegranate.

Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that come in a rainbow of colours, from the deep red of the pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites. Some rare garnets are even blue, colourless, or—most rare of all—change colours in different lights. But the most common garnet colour is a beautiful range of reds, from rust coloured to deep violet-red.

Known for centuries before the birth of Christ, garnet’s intense red colour led to the belief that it glowed with its own light. The garnet is so durable, remnants of garnet jewellery have been found dating as far back as the Bronze Age. Other references go back to 3100 BC when the Egyptians used garnet as inlays in their jewellery and carvings. The Egyptians even referred to it as the symbol of life. The garnet gemstone was very popular with the Romans in the third and fourth centuries.

Down through the centuries garnet was considered to possess many curative powers, and was ground down to use as a poultice as an antidote for poisons. If worn it would “dissipate sadness, avert evil thoughts and dreams, exhilarate the soul and foretell misfortunes (Kunz, The Magic of Jewels and Charms).

This gemstone was used as a talisman for protection both by warriors going into battle and those who wanted to ward off pestilence and plague. Some ancient healers and wise men even placed garnets in wounds and praised its healing powers.

Garnet is still used as an amulet to aid the heart, circulation and diseases of the blood. It is praised as the gem of peach, love, passion and sensuality.

Practitioners of crystal healing in the twenty-first century call the garnet the “Stone of Health”. The gem is used to remove negative energies from a subject and transfer these energies to a beneficial form. Garnet is also called upon to strengthen love and bring devotion and commitment to couples.

The various stones in the Garnet group are also given individual attributes and powers;

Almandine garnet is used to stimulate the physical body and the intellect. Andradite garnet gives strength, stamina, courage and stability to males. Grossular garnet enhances fertility, pyrope and rhodolite garnet are helpful in the treatment of digestive tract disorders, uvarovite garnet grants peace, quiet and solitude while promoting clarity of thought.


Source: Gems in Myth, Legend and Lore by Bruce G. Knuth