Monday, January 12, 2015

Garnet, The Stone of Eternal Friendship

Oval Cut Almandine Garnet
Birthstones Series - January Garnet

The traditional birthstone for those born in the month of January is Garnet. It symbolizes a light heart, loyalty and enduring affections. It also signifies eternal friendship and trust, and is the perfect gift for a friend. Garnet is the Zodiac birthstone for Aquarius and the stone that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage.

The word Garnet, derived from the Latin granatum which means “grain”, is possibly a reference to pomegranate because some garnet crystals resemble the red color and seeds of this fruit. There are many different myths about the origins of garnet. One such myth suggests that the garnet originated with Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine. Persephone was captured by Hades, the god of the underworld. Before Hades released Persephone, he wanted to guarantee her return, so he gave her some pomegranate seeds.

Most people think of the garnet as a red gemstone, but in fact, Garnet is a group of minerals
Star Garnet
that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the fiery orange of Mandarin Garnet to the vibrant green of Tsavorite Garnet and to the most widely recognized deep red color of Pyrope Garnet.
The garnet’s variety of colors comes from metals such as manganese, iron, calcium, and aluminum. Some varieties known as Star Garnet even contain mineral fibers that produce the illusion of a four or six-rayed star within the stone, an effect called “asterism”. 
Color Changing Garnet

Color-changing Garnet is an especially rare and valuable member of the garnet group of gemstones. It is highly desired for its distinct ability to change color depending on the type of light source with which it is viewed. It can have several color combinations, especially brown or orange in daylight to a pink or light red in incandescent light.

There are many forms and varieties of Garnets, categorized in six main mineral types:
ALMANDINE  (reddish brown to brown) 
ANDRADITE (brown, black or green)
GROSSULAR (colorless, orange or green) 
PYROPE (dark red to ruby red)
SPESSARTINE (orange, pink or brown) 
Green garnets are most highly prized but are very rare. Emerald green and colorless stones are highly valued, followed by pure red garnets.
Varieties of Garnet
The most common crystal shape for garnets is the rhombic dodecahedron, a twelve sided crystal with diamond-shaped (rhombic) faces. This basic shape is the trademark of garnets, for no other crystal shape is so closely associated with a single mineral group like the rhombic dodecahedron is with garnets. Today, the most important sources for garnet are Africa, Sri Lanka, and India.

References to the gemstone date back to 3100 B.C., when the Egyptians used garnets as inlays in jewelry. In ancient Rome, signet rings with carved garnets were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents. Ancient warriors believed that garnets brought victory. The Crusaders used them as protection against wounds and accidents during their journeys. In contrast, Asiatic warriors believed that glowing garnets, used as bullets, inflicted more severe wounds.

As with many precious stones, garnets were once believed to hold medicinal powers. In Medieval times, it protected its wearer against poisons, wounds and bad dreams, and cured depression. Red garnets relieved fever, hemorrhages and inflammatory diseases.

Happy Birthday to all January babies!

For one-of-a-kind jewelry designs created with garnet please visit ADORA by Simona