Garnet Education

Garnet is the birthstone for January and the stone that celebrates the 2nd anniversary of marriage. The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “seedlike,” in reference to a pomegranate. This reference makes sense as small garnets look like the bright red seeds you find inside in a pomegranate. The garnet has been a popular gem throughout history. Garnets were found as beads in a necklace worn by a young man in a grave that dates back to 3000 B.C. This is proof of the hardness and durability of the stone.

The King of Saxony is said to have had a garnet of over 465 carats. Plato had his portrait engraved on a garnet by a Roman engraver. Bohemia, now a part of Czechoslovakia, was once a tremendous source of garnet, and at one time, cutting, polishing, and mounting garnets was a very rich industry in that country. Many Bohemian castles and churches had magnificent interiors decorated with garnet. Bohemian garnets are famous even today, known for their small but beautiful stones set close to each other resembling a pomegranate. Garnet jewelry is still found in the Czech Republic, with the stones still arranged in the traditional, tightly joined way. This ensures that the attraction of the classical Garnet pieces is caused only by the beauty of its stones. The Anglo-Saxons were also fond of garnets. Their jewelry was set with garnets mounted in many forms.

Garnets were highly popular in Europe, in 18th and 19th centuries. They were frequently used for jewelry in the Victorian times. In Old Spain, the pomegranate was a favorite, and as a result of this, so was the garnet. In Spanish astrology, the garnet once represented the sun. In ancient times, garnet was known as ”Carbuncle,” which relates to the color and refers to a boil or blister. This name was also applied to other red stones, but to the garnet in particular.

Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary describes the garnet as “a brittle and more or less transparent red silicate mineral that has a vitreous luster, occurs in many crystals but also in massive forms and in grains, is found commonly in gneiss and mica schist, and is used as a semiprecious stone and as an abrasive.” Garnet is one of the most plentiful stones. There is hardly any other gem that unites such a broad spectrum of color and luster, as well as rarity and size of widely varying gemstones. For example, the precious green uvarovite garnet from the Urals, is an almost priceless gemstone due to the fact that it only forms in fairly large crystals.

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