The rich deep red, the burnt orange or even the enchanting green...garnet has been a stone cherished in jewelry for centuries. It is said that Plato even had his portrait engraved on a garnet! Many Bohemian Churches and castles had their interior decorated with garnets. The beautiful green Uvarovite Garnet from the Urals is an almost priceless variety. Garnet is a group name for the number of different types of silicate minerals that it contains, such as almandine, grossular and spessartine. This is how garnet gets such a large variety of available colours!
One of my personal favorites is the amazing star garnet. It exhibits a magical asterism or star effect which displays when the stone is polished and usually in direct sunlight. The stone actually contains inclusions of rutile and in order to display the effect they must be in perfect alignment to reflect light in a star pattern. The majority of the garnets display a four rayed star. Six rayed stars have also been found but are very rare. The star garnets are only found in the USA and India. The deposits of the star garnet in the USA are found in Idaho and is declared the state gemstone!
Imperial garnet is a light pink variety of Grossular garnet. It has been known to have colour shifts or change, where the stones will exhibit two distinct colours. The main supply of these stones come from Africa. Hessonite garnet is an orange to light brown variety. When viewed under magnification, hessonite garnet will show areas of lesser transparency, helping to distinguish it from similar coloured gems. Wearing a hessonite garnet is said to bring wealth, success and happiness. It has also been used as a talisman for self-expression and confidence.
Merelani Mint Garnet is a variety named after a region in Tanzania, where it was discovered. The green colour comes from the trace element of chromium. Lovers of nature will appreciate this exotic stone. From colours of pastel green to greenish blue, it will resonate with those who love greenery and the sea! It may bring forth the energies of hope and empowerment to the beholder.
Of course we cannot forget the popular red garnet, perhaps the most recognized of all the garnets. It is the birthstone for January and resonates with the Capricorn zodiac. Red garnets’ history and use is vast across the globe. It has been used in weapons and for protection in Asiatic tribes as they believed the garnets colour, similar to blood, would strengthen their weapons and protect them from wounds. Egyptian Pharaohs wore necklaces adorned with red garnets and in ancient Rome, red garnets were carved and used to stamp the wax which sealed important documents. Spiritually garnet is known to resonate with the root chakra or base chara. It is said to bring a stabilizing energy or grounding energy, helping to balance the root chakra. It is also used to help release bad karma or stagnant energy from those who work with it. Garnet has been used to help protect from nightmares as well as bringing order to chaos.
Weather you are drawn to garnet for it’s beauty or it’s helpful strength in spiritual properties, there are many colours and varieties to satisfy all!