January 7, 2012

January’s Birthstone

Garnet Facts
  • Garnet comes from the Latin word “granum” meaning grain.  
  • Red garnets are known as the birthstone for January.
  • Even with the popularity red garnets, there are also garnets showing different shades of green, pale to bright yellow, blue, blue-green, fiery orange and fine earth- and umbra-shades.
  • Garnets have a Mohs’ hardness of 7 – 7.5 which makes this a durable, wearable and easy to set stone.

Garnet lore
Most of the symbolism associated with the garnet is connected with the fiery red color. The ruby red form of pyrope so often used in jewelry is named after the Latin word pyropos - "fire like".
It was believed that garnets emit a red light and some stories say that it was impossible to hide it - the red light would illuminate the darkness. A variation of this belief in the garnet's powers of illumination is the suggestion that it could reveal hidden and items and secrets. Spiritually it is said to illuminate dark times and bring hope. It was also said that Noah use the glow of a red garnet to illuminate the ark

Garnet has also been associated with eternity. As such it is sometimes used as a symbol of trust, devotion and loyalty. In Greek mythology Hades gave pomegranate seeds to Persephone to force her to return. This tale has led some people to use a gift of garnet stone jewelry as a token to ensure the return of a loved one.
Garnet has also been said to have healing properties. In the middle ages, knights would sometimes include garnets on their shields in an attempt to prevent injury.

In more recent history garnet is known as the stone for a successful business. If your business is not as good as it should be, just put 3 or more garnets on your desk to stimulate business success. It is believed that if a garnet is put under a pillow it will cure depression. Another belief is garnets can be used to make a person popular and increase self-esteem when worn as jewelry.

Whatever your reason to wear garnets, it’s your birthstone, for protection, to bring hope or because red is your favorite color. Garnets are beautiful, fiery and a durable stone to wear. Check out Bespangled jewelry.

Each Month in 2012 Ilene from Art Jewelry by Ilene Kay will feature the current months birthstone.