Garnet and some of its properties.
Garnets give a spectrum of colour akin to that of a fireworks explosion on New Year’s Eve. This gemstone group, “garnet”, contains more than ten different gemstones with a similar chemical structure.
The main difference in the physical properties of the garnet group are slight variations in colour, density and refractive index. The name “garnet” comes from the Latin granatus meaning seed, because it often resembles small round seeds when it is found. (like a pomegranate seed).
Garnets as a group are relatively common in highly metamorphic and some igneous rocks. They form under high temperatures and pressure. This gemstone can be used by geologists as an indication of the temperature and pressure at which the rock was formed.
This gemstone supposedly has the powers to illuminate even the darkest room. It is written that Noah used the gem to light the inside of the Ark.
There are many other legends that involve its mystical powers for lighting and brightening capabilities. It has been suggested that eastern Indians rubbed Garnets gemstones on themselves in belief that the gems’ glowing qualities would be transmitted into their “glowing wellbeing”.
Several cultures have finely ground this gemstone and heated it to act as a medicinal remedy for illness. Certain healers continue to use it today as a cure for nightmares.
When studying the myths and legends surrounding this gem, whether it be stories relating to the Aztecs, Romans, Egyptians, Native Americans or British royalty, there is one common theme. Garnet is the ultimate gift of love. Today the gem continues to be a symbol of love, passion and warmth.
In the late 1960s a new Garnet was discovered which made green an important garnet colour. This is the Tsavorite. The increasing scarcity of Emerald has contributed to Tsavorite’s importance.
This gem occurs in relative abundance and today comes mainly from African countries, but it is also found in India, Russia and South America.
This gemstone is the Zodiacal birthstone of Aquarius and the birthstone of January. It is also the birthstone for those females with the Christian name of Gertrude and the male name of George.
We have a long association with this gemstone. Beads of Garnet turn up in prehistoric graves. Red carbuncles (cabochons) have been appearing in jewellery for the last 500 years. Sadly, this has meant that people now think of the stone as somewhat old-fashioned and dull. This leaves the full potential of Garnet unrealized. It is to be hoped that the gemstone’s durability, versatility and price range will see it back in favour in the not too distant future.
The most common crystal shape for garnets is the rhombic dodecahedron. This is a twelve sided crystal with diamond shaped faces. Although the colour red is the one that occurs most frequently, there are also Garnets showing different colours of green, pale to bright yellow, fiery orange and fine earthly shades.
Garnets belong to a group rather than a family. There is one thing in addition to their crystal structure that they have in common. This is that all of their colours are totally natural.
Even scientists and enthusiasts have not yet found a way to enhance the look of the garnet. The gems are so naturally beautiful that there is no need to do so.
In Greek mythology it was thought to resemble the fruit of the pomegranate. These seeds were regarded as a gift of love and is said to symbolise eternity. Maybe this is why it is sometimes used as a gift for the 2nd and 6th wedding anniversaries.
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