Babies born in the first month of the year have a birthstone so gorgeous and symbolical that it is often compared with rubies. Garnet, a bedazzling red stone that stands for peace, prosperity and also good health is the birthstone of January. Believed to have the power to wield health, happiness and wealth for its wearers, garnet is a gemstone that allures all.
Chemically, garnet is a mashup of many minerals. When broken down, the crystal reveals five constituent minerals namely almandine, pyrope, grossular, spessartine and andradite. While all these components are important gems too, together they form a mineral of greater importance. Although red is the color that garnet is most identified, it occurs in nature in all the colors of the rainbow. On its color wheel are deep red and vibrant green and subtle pink and bright purple.
Etymologically, the word “garnet” comes from the Latin term “granatus”, which directly translates as pomegranates. Being the color of the fruit, these stones came to be called garnet.
In astrology, the stone is believed to have immense benefits, the first of which is health. Like red coral, garnet is the stone of health. But its benefits are not restricted to the physical well being of its wearers, but also their mental health. Garnet is believed to block and neutralize all feelings of sadness, regret, guilt and other negativity. On the contrary, it incites in the wearers self-confidence and self-love that are integral to character building.
It brings about mental clarity by clearing the mind and organizing the thoughts. Some believe that it promotes creative thinking as well as peace of mind. In absence of proven remedies, healers in medieval times used garnet to control palpitation and manage inflammatory diseases.
If you thought only gems like sapphires and diamonds make it to the museums, you only know one half of the truth. Garnets too have made history and are now justly part of museum collections in prestigious places. One piece of famous garnet jewelry that has bedazzled people for generations is the pyrope hair comb. An antique piece of jewelry, it is beset with a chunky rose cut garnet at the crest. This garnet originated in the mines of Bohemia, which is now in Czech Republic. The tiara, which is bedecked with garnets all over was fashioned in the Victorian era when garnets were immensely popular.