Happy New Year! We are back in the studio and ready to make 2019 the best year ever. We are kicking it off by saying Happy Birthday to all the January babies out there along with a little history of your birthstone, the garnet.

Garnet Origin

The term garnet is derived from the Middle English word gernet, meaning dark red as well as the Latin granum which means seed, in this case referring to the rich color of pomegranate seeds. While red is the most common garnet color, it is also found in various other hues including orange, yellow, purple, pink and the rare blue. This stone has been popular throughout the centuries because of its durability, ranking a 6.5-7.5 on the Moh’s Scale. Because of its ability to withstand the elements, scientists have dated garnets back as far the Bronze Age.

Roman gold and garnet earrings

Garnet History and Lore

The garnet was the most popular and widespread gemstone in Ancient Roman times. Rome had a great location for trade making garnets a very accessible stone. They were used in many types of jewelry, including the new style of cloisonné, as well as for decoration and personal talismans. Nobles and politicians saw the garnet as a status symbol and many wore garnet signet rings which were used to seal wax on important and confidential documents. For many the garnet was a  representation of good faith, with the belief that wearing the stone and doing good deeds would bring you prosperity in life and wealth. On the other hand if you were a bad person who did bad things, unlucky fortunes would be bestowed upon you.

Ancient Roman Jupiter intaglio signet ring

 

 

The Roman’s   weren’t the only culture that revered the garnet for its properties. The people of Hunzas, now northern Pakistan, believed in the strength of the stone. While using it as personal protection from wounds, they subsequently used garnets instead of bullets against the British in 1892, believing they were stronger and more deadly then lead.

examples of ancient garnet cloisonne jewelry and pendants

 

 

We hope you enjoyed learning some fun facts about the garnet. Check back in next month when we dive into the history and lore of the Amethyst!

 

Antique hairpin set with Bohemian pyrope garnets from the Czech Republic, now in the collection of the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

 

 

“GARNET GEMSTONE INFORMATION.” Gem Select, https://www.gemselect.com/gem-info/garnet/garnet-info.php.

“GARNET.” Wikepedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnet

“JANUARY BIRTHSTONE.” Birthstones | Birthstone Origins | American Gem Society – American Gem Society, www.americangemsociety.org/page/januarybirthstone.

 

 

 

PHOTOS

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garnet
  2. http://dotd4u.info/garnet-earrings-gold/ancient-roman-gold-and-garnet-earrings-each-with-a-white-bead-at-garnet-earrings-gold/
  3. https://www.1stdibs.com/jewelry/rings/signet-rings/museum-quality-ancient-roman-jupiter-intaglio-signet-ring/id-j_1368703/
  4. https://www.barnebys.com/auctions/lot/472988703/medieval-gold-and-garnet-cloisonne-cross-c-8th-9th-century-a-d/
  5. https://4cs.gia.edu/en-us/blog/famous-gemstones-pyrope-garnet/