By:Robin Lefkowitz-Huska, guest blogger
The garnet gemstone is often associated with its deep red hue, but the most common misconception about garnets is that the gemstone is only produced in an array of reds from rust colored to deep violet-red.
In actuality, garnet is the name used for a large group of rock-forming minerals that come in a rich palette of colors, from burgundy red to light, translucent green. Out of all the garnet colors, the rarest are blue, colorless and changing colors in different lights.
Garnets were first discovered in Madagascar in the late 1990s. Since then, garnets have been found in many different countries such as the US, Russia, Brazil, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, Sir Lanka and Myanmar and Turkey.
The word originates from the 14th Century Middle English word “gernet” which means dark red. It derives from the Latin word “granatum” meaning seed closely resembling the beautiful deep red hue of pomegranate seeds.
Those born in the month of January are lucky to have this beautiful and diverse garnet as their birthstone. Garnets are commonly red but also come in a spectrum of beautiful colors, including orange, yellow, purple, and green. There are even garnets that will change color going from blue to purple in different lighting. Some believe the true value of the garnet birthstone is its power to bring the wearer good health, wealth, and happiness.
- In ancient Rome, garnets were featured in signet rings worn by clergy and nobility to stamp the wax that secured significant documents.
- It was the Victorians who popularized the gemstone by designing some of the largest and most exquisite statement jewelry pieces made with clusters of tiny red garnets.
- Praised throughout the ancient Middle Ages, garnets were worn as protection amulets by soldiers going into battle, people who wanted to ward off plagues and healers would place them into wounds of the injured.
- Red garnets adorned the necks of Egyptian rulers and were buried with mummified bodies as prized possessions for the afterlife.
- Garnet was thought to be one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God.
- Garnets were found as beads in a necklace worn by a young man in a grave that dates back to 3000 B.C
- Garnets range from a 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale
- Plato, the famous philosopher, has his portrait engraved on the face of a garnet.
- Demantoid garnet is among the rarest and most valuable from garnet family. It is a remarkable green variety of andradite garnet that was discovered in the mid-1800s in Russia.
The first month of year is full of celebrities’ birthdays: Elvis Presley, Justin Timberlake, Oprah Winfrey, David Bowie, Stephen Hawking, Zayn Malik, Howard Stern, Orlando Bloom, Patrick Dempsey, Ellen DeGeneres, Jackie Robinson, Kerry Washington.