January’s Birthstone: Garnet

Happy birthday to those of you born in January!

To help celebrate, here are some fun and interesting facts and myths about your very own birthstone, the garnet.

  • The word garnet derives from the Latin word granatus, meaning grain or seed-like. This is a likely reference to the pomegranate fruit which has seeds of a similar shape, size and color to some garnet stones.
  • Garnet is not a single mineral, but a broad group of minerals. On the Mohs hardness scale, garnet is usually 6.5 to 7.5.
  • Garnets are known for their deep red color, but they also come in a variety of other colors including green, orange, brown, yellow, and earth tones such as cinnamon. This diversity of color is due to the combinations of elements within each particular gem, such as iron, calcium and manganese.
  • Garnets are associated with love, devotion, honor and loyalty. A garnet given as a gift is said to grant loyalty and affection upon the bestowed.
  • Garnets are very abrasive and are used commercially for grinding and polishing. There is such a thing as garnet-coated sandpaper.
  • Garnets are thought to have healing powers, specifically for heart-related ailments. Garnets are believed to help cardiovascular problems by regulating internal rhythms and normalizing blood pressure.
  • From a metaphysical perspective, garnets are said to awaken the “heart center,” and can purify and cleanse the body, remove toxins, and revitalize the spirit.
  • Because garnets are believed to protect against injury and death, soldiers and sailors throughout the ages have carried garnets into battle. Garnets are also thought to offer protection against injury or death.
  • In the Bible, it is believed that Noah affixed a garnet carbuncle on the mast of his Ark to light his way through the dark and stormy nights of God’s wrath.
  • The first garnets were mined in Sri Lanka more than 2,500 years ago. They are commonly found in India, South Africa, Brazil, Canada, Hungary and Austria. In the United States, garnets are mined in Arizona and Idaho.
  • The almandine garnet is the official state mineral of Connecticut, and was declared so by the state’s General Assembly in 1977.
  • Bohemia, now located in the Czech Republic, was an early source of quality garnets and is one of the few places in the world where pyrope garnets are found.  
  • Although the Magic Garnet Museum in Prague, Czech Republic, closed in 2008, you can still virtually visit their large collection of historical and contemporary garnet jewelry online

Where to shop for garnet jewelry?

If you’re looking for a beautiful gemstone, like garnets, visit Adina Jewelers by Empire Pawn on eBay. You’ll find amazing fine estate, vintage and antique jewelry — from watches and rings to engagement rings — at true wholesale prices!

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