Get to know Garnet – a Refined and Worldly Wonder
There’s more to a garnet than is perhaps often realised. It could be imagined this stone has a ‘quiet’ personality and is certainly more reserved than the ‘shouty’ extravert-like character of a diamond. Dig a little deeper to discover the garnet’s fascinating history and versatility.
Get the lowdown on garnets from our seven surprising snippets:
1. The word garnet derives from the Latin ‘granatum’ meaning pomegranate. This is because the colour of the pyrope variety resembles the seeds of these succulent and aphrodisiacal dark red fruits. The term ‘pyrope’ comes from the Greek word pyropos meaning fiery.
2. Garnets is in fact the group name for a family of gems that can be sub-categorised into various types. Interestingly, there is a much wider colour range than just the reddish pyrope; they can be found in orange, amber, yellow, white, green, purply-mauves and even blue. Each variety has its own name and set of qualities. There is also a very rare colour-change variety with can appear a different colour when viewed in different light sources.
3. Garnets are the birthstone of those born in the month of January and also the stone associated with second wedding anniversaries.
4. Garnets have history! They have featured in jewellery for thousands of years; the Ancient Egyptian pharaohs would wear bead necklaces, bracelets and other jewellery incorporating the red variety. Upon their death, pharaohs were entombed wearing these adornments which married with the belief of their civilisation that wealth and possessions could be taken into the afterlife. Later, Romans used garnets widely and particularly so in signet rings. Garnets were used in these rings and often inscribed with initials or images and used by the wearer to authorise official documents by using the ring as a wax stamp or seal.
Garnet jewellery also became popular with clergymen and nobility in the Middle Ages as the dark red gems were recognised as a symbol of power and passion.
5. Geographically, garnets can be sourced from a wide variety of countries covering the continents of The Americas, Africa, Europe and Asia.
6. A world-famous beauty is an antique garnet-encrusted pyrope haircomb from the Czech Republic. It’s designed like a tiara and its gems are cut in the elegant hexagonal pear and pentagonal rose style. To see this stunner ‘in the flesh’ you’d need to visit the world’s largest museum, the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC, United States.
7. Garnets are said to have healing powers and are associated with improving circulation and enriching blood health. They are also supposed to be therapeutic to the mind, warding off depression and encouraging emotional strength in times of stress and difficulty.
Garnets aren’t a glitzy gem and instead seem to convey an air of sophistication, a sense of richness, a confident less-is-more vibe. This makes them an ideal choice for a gift of jewellery to a friend, family member or colleague. It’s to be noted that not only the ancient monarchs of Egypt favoured garnet, it is also the choice of a future monarch; Kate Middleton, or rather, HRH The Duchess of Cambridge who has been seen wearing a garnet and pearl ring. She was born in the month of January so perhaps her ring was a special gift from someone close…