Zodiac: Aries, Leo, Virgo, Capricorn, Aquarius
Element: Fire, Earth
There are still a few areas to explore when it comes to this powerful stone so let’s take a look at ten things you didn’t know about Garnet.
1. Garnet, the origins of a name
In another early record of Garnet’s discovery by Pliny the Elder in 77 A.D., it was first called Carchedonius Garamanticus or Garamantic Carbuncle. The name Garnet was originally derived from gernet meaning “dark red” and granatus meaning “grain of seed” for its resemblance to pomegranate seeds.
2. Garnet, a gift between Gods and Goddesses
As one origin of the name granatus literally translates to “grain of seed”, the resemblance passes through some more famous aspects of mythology. It is said Garnet itself originated with Persephone, the Greek Goddess of Sunshine. In this story, Persephone was captured by Hades, the God of the Underworld, who then released her but, wanting to guarantee her return, gifted her pomegranate seeds.
3. Garnet, a stone of Safe Travels and Protection
Similar to the Greek version of the myth, another story exists within Roman mythology where Persephone is Proserpine, Hades is Pluto, Zeus is Jupiter, and Demeter is Ceres. In this version, Pluto did not only gift the pomegranate seeds to Proserpine, but he made her eat them before releasing her, ensuring her safe return. This association echoes throughout the history of the stone as it is highly regarded as a stone of passion, safe travels, and vitality.
4. Garnet in Biblical History
The tales of Garnet’s protective properties have travelled through time since the biblical beginning of man. In the story of Noah’s Ark, it is said that Noah wore a garnet around his neck to safely guide him through the treacherous journey during the forty days and forty nights of the Great Flood. It has long since been a symbol of love, fertility, safety, and vitality. Garnet is also one of the twelve stones on the Breastplate of Aaron, in the second row. Representing the tribe of Judah, it is associated with devotion, courage, and power.
5. Garnet, a Reflective Gem
Also called the Gem of Faith, many people throughout history believed that the stone would reflect your thoughts and intentions. Legends say that Garnet can bring peace, prosperity, and good health to the home, but it can also bring ill fortune if your heart is impure. Those who do good while wearing the stone will receive blessings and abundance, whereas if you wore it while committing negative acts and having negative thoughts would experience bad luck and misfortune.
6. Garnet, a Stone of the Ancients
Garnet is such a durable and prized gem that some artifacts still remain from its existence in ancient civilizations – jewelry dating back to the Bronze age, to be specific. The ancient Egyptians were known for their garnet inlays and carving in jewelry. They believed the stone was a symbol of life, vitality, and the life force and would use it to honor the Goddess of War, Sekhmet.
7. Garnet as a Source of Light in the Darkness
As mentioned earlier, the name Garnet comes from the Latin word carbunculus meaning “small, hot coal”. This name was probably first given as an homage to the fact that some pieces shone as if they had their own internal source of light. In biblical stories, aside from the belief that Noah used a Garnet stone to guide himself through the storms, it is said that he also used it to light up the ark in the darkness. During the flood, the sun nor moon did not shine, but this precious stone “shone more brilliantly by night than by day, enabling Noah to distinguish between night and day.”
8. Garnet in Literature
Of all the tales surrounding Garnet, the one which encapsulates all its fascinating and prized features is Nathaniel Hawethorne’s The Great Carbuncle, 1837. In this short story, Hawthorne tells of eight travelers with different motives behind their quest and a similar goal – to find the great carbuncle, an evasive and precious gem that has been the center of many sailor’s tales and fantastic legends, a stone so magnificent that its very luminescence was believed to shine brighter than the moon and the sun themselves. Each seeker has their reasons for leaving everything behind to find this gem, some wanting it for scientific advancement, some wanting their soul to absorb its powers, and one “sordid man” wanting to sell it to a King. Within the short story there’s another of which a character warns that a Native spirit guards the stone to bewilder and confuse the seeker.
9. Garnet, Protection throughout History
Garnet’s protective properties have been well known and very widespread for many many years throughout history. For these reasons, Celtic and Saxon kings would often wear jewelry with garnet inlaid. Similarly, Native American healers believed that the stone had the power to protect against physical harm and poison. According to Christian Tradition, King Solomon wore garnets into battle, just as the Crusaders and Muslim warriors did. Although gem carving was well-known in previous centuries, knowledge of the practice had declined in Europe and people often believed that carved garnets would simply occur that way in nature. Queen Mary of Scots, Queen Victoria, and the Russian Czarinas would all wear garnets as adornments, but it’s safe to say they did this for protection.
10. Garnet Healing in History
Since it has been known to man, Garnet’s dark red color has been associated with blood and the life force. Its most common associations in regards to healing the physical body is with the physical heart and the circulatory system. It is also said to aid in counteracting melancholy and prevent hemorrhage. Garnet’s color and inner fire is also believed to stir one’s creative energy. In regards to the stone’s association with blood and in opposition to healing, the Hunza warriors of Kashmir shot garnet pellets with bows (and later, guns) as they believed that the stone would inflict particularly bloody wounds upon their enemy.