January Birthstone- Garnet

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Garnet is the birthstone for January and the stone that traditionally is given for the 19th anniversary of marriage but can also be used as a gift during the 2nd and 6th 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.

Red garnets were the most commonly used gemstones in the Late Antique Roman world.  Throughout time, there have been many ancient traditions and legends about the garnet. In medieval times, the stones were thought to cure depression, protect against bad dreams, and relieve diseases of the liver, as well as hemorrhages. According to legend, Noah used a finely cut, glowing garnet to illuminate the ark during those dark wet days and nights. Hebrew writers include the garnet as one of the twelve gems in Aaron’s breastplate. Christian tradition considered the blood-red garnet as a symbol of Christ’s sacrifice. The Koran holds that the garnet illuminates the Fourth Heaven of the Moslems. The Greeks said it guarded children from drowning. It was also thought to be potent against poisons.  In Greek mythology, a pomegranate is referenced as a gift of love and is associated with eternity. Nowadays, Garnet is symbolic of a quick return and separated love, since Hades had given a pomegranate to Persephone before she left him to ensure her speedy return. Therefore, Garnet may be given to a beloved before embarking on a trip, as it is believed to heal the broken bonds of lovers.

There are multiple superstitions of the healing powers in health and business that the Garnet renders.  They are thought to be remedies for hemorrhages of all kinds, as well as for inflammatory diseases. Garnets were worn to enhance bodily strength, endurance and vigor.  In men's health, they promote reproductive wellness and in womens health they promote hormonal balance and help reduce swelling.  Garnet has long believed to cure heart palpitations, lung diseases, and various diseases of the blood.  There are many beliefs in the power garnet has over the not just physical health, but mental health as well. Garnet’s virtues have been long believed to include passion, true friendship, fidelity, success, self-esteem, loyalty, devotion, energy, faith, consistency, and truth. The stone also sharpens your perception of yourself and other people. Long ago, garnets were claimed to help the wearer resist melancholy and warn off evil spirits, especially spirits of the night, which were referred to as demons and night phantoms.  Today, we can interpret this as an aid to resist nightmares.

In business, Garnet has been believed to be extremely beneficial as well. The stone causes people to be attracted to the wearer, which aids in business, as well as in personal success. It is especially beneficial to those people whose business is people-oriented. The Garnet is also said to aid in giving strength to the business minded person. Any sort of crisis is turned into challenge under the garnet’s influence.

Garnets generally can be found in Africa, India, Russia, South America, Madagascar, Pakistan, and the United States.  Nowadays, the Mozabique variety is garnered as very popular and highly sought after.

The gemstone varieties occur in shades of green, red, yellow, and orange. In the US it is known as the birthstone for January. It is the state mineral of Connecticut, New York's gemstone and star garnet (garnet with rutile asterisms) is the state gemstone of Idaho.

-Information provided by the Gemological Institute of America (GIA)

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