Nothing quite catches the eye like the color red does, and January's birthstone, the garnet, with its rich deep red shades, is eye-catching indeed!
Interestingly enough, garnets are actually found in many colors and boast the widest spectrum of hue for any stone. These colors include red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink, and even colorless. Red is the most common and the color most often associated with garnets.
Garnets have been used since the Bronze Age as both gemstones and abrasives. They can range from the gemstone-quality stones you see in jewelry to opaque varieties used for industrial purposes as abrasives.
The word garnet comes from the 14th‑century Middle English word gernet, meaning dark red, which in turn was derived from the Latin word granum meaning seed! Some believe this is possibly a reference to pomum granatum, the Latin word for pomegranate, a fruit whose red seeds look a lot like beautiful garnet crystals!
Garnets have a rich tradition in history and lore. In ancient Greek mythology, garnets were associated with Hades and Persephone because Hades used pomegranate seeds to lure Persephone into the Underworld!
In ancient Rome, signet rings with garnets were used to stamp the wax that fastened important documents.
And fast forward to the Middle Ages—during this time garnet pendants and rings were given at weddings to ensure the new husband and wife's faithfulness.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the garnet's deep history. They have always held a place of honor and significance. Today, the January birthstone is said to symbolize happiness, deep and enduring friendships, and success, just to name a few!
I believe garnets are simply gorgeous and a wonderful way to celebrate your birth month or someone else's. Here are a few of my favorite garnet pieces...
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