The garnet is the official birthstone of January. The word “garnet” derives from the Latin granatus, which translates as “seed-like,” since the stone bears a resemblance to the pomegranate’s minuscule red seeds. During the Victorian age, the primary source of red garnets was Bohemia, which in now the Czech Republic. In the Ural Mountains during the 19th century, green garnets were treasured by the Russian royalty and a favorite of Peter Carl Fabergé—the jeweler of Fabergé Egg fame. Today, much of the world’s garnet supply is sourced in Africa.
A Brief History
Garnets have been used as early as 3300 BC to 1200 BC. Jewelry set with red garnets ornamented Egyptian pharaohs while in ancient Rome signet rings showcasing garnet intaglios were all the rage. The signet rings were used to seal the wax that protected important papers. Ancient naturopaths and shamans even deposited garnets in wounds and applauded its medicinal capabilities. During the Middle Ages, red garnets were popular by the upper class and clerics. At that same time, the garnet was used to treat the Black Plague. The versatile January birthstone was also thought to thwart marital dissention, ensure fidelity, and change colors in order to warn its wearer of impending peril. Nevertheless, medieval Europe wasn’t the first society to consider the garnet a super-power.
As stated in Greek mythology, Hades (the god of the Underworld) kidnapped Zeus’ daughter Persephone and took her to his realm in the netherworld. Prior to reluctantly setting her free, Hades gifted her with pomegranate seeds to make certain she would come back to him. This Greek myth is the reason garnets came to be linked with the guarantee of a safe return. Consequently, people began giving garnets to friends and family going on trips or off to war to make sure they would see one another again, and also to ensure their safety. Caveat: the pomegranate is also a symbol of the feminine life force, women in general, and the womb. As such, more than a few academics posit that Hades’ pomegranate seed ploy essentially backfired and safeguarded Persephone instead.
When we are born, each of the elements of the universe are aligned in particular configurations. Since everything is connected, (as it is above so it is below) the stars and planets are situated in ways that will have both positive and negative influences on our lives.
Integral in these constellations and formations is a distinctive set of stimuli and characteristics. As humans we have free will, therefore, we can choose to go with the flow and roll with the punches throughout our lifetimes, or we can learn to understand the stimuli and how it operates, and then try to appropriately adjust our reactions to them.
In short, we have a choice: either accept it, or change it.
Our birthstones have been with us since Day One. They understand us, know what makes us tick, and are aware of our individual aspirations. As such, our birthstones can be like a lucky charm or talisman for us, should we decide to carry our birthstone in our purse or pocket, or wear it as a piece of jewelry. They also have the ability to clear negative karma we may have accumulated from past transmigrations, thus allowing us an easier, more pleasant experience in life this time around.
What a Garnet Birthstone Means for You
Legend tells us that a garnet birthstone can bring everlasting happiness, good health, and prosperity. In keeping with Indian astrology aka, Moon astrology, the garnet can diminish negativity in the forms of guilt, shame, and chronic depression, while imparting self-assurance, creativity, thinking outside the box, and serenity. The garnet was also considered a “Health Stone”, and many believed it could clear the chakras of negativity as well as purify one’s blood.
In addition to the January birthstone’s various positive attributes, with a score of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, garnet can also be crafted into stunning pieces of jewelry. Traditionally, garnets are gifted on the 18th wedding anniversary. And since the stone is also symbolic of true and enduring friendship, a piece of garnet jewelry makes a beautiful and meaningful gift for your bestie.