Garnet is a group of minerals that have been used for
thousands of years as gemstones and abrasives. Noah, it is said, used a
garnet lantern to help him steer his ark through the dark night. Garnets are also found in jewelry from early Egyptian, Greek and Roman times. In
earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to
demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet
again. Many early explorers and travelers liked to carry a garnet with
them. It was popular as a talisman and protective stone, it was believed to
light up the night and protect its bearer from evil and disaster. Science has
taught us that the garnet's proverbial luminosity comes from its high
refractive index. Today, it is widely known as the birthstone for January and
is also the stone for the Zodiac sign Aquarius. Garnets are most often
seen in red, but are available in a wide variety of colors spanning the
entire spectrum. The name "garnet" comes from the Latin granatus ("grain"), possibly a reference wherein crystals resemble grains or
seeds embedded in the matrix.
Six common varieties of garnet are recognized based
on their chemical composition. They are pyrope, almandine or carbuncle, spessartite, grossularite (varieties of which are
hessonite or cinnamon-stone and tsavorite), uvarovite and andradite.
Garnets are available in many
colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black, and colorless.
The rarest of these is the blue garnet, discovered in the late 1990s
in Bekily, Madagascar.It is also found in some parts of the United States,
Russia and Turkey. It changes color from blue-green in the daylight to purple
in incandescent light, as a result of the relatively high amounts of vanadium
(about 1 wt.% V2O3). Other varieties of color-changing garnets exist. In daylight, their color ranges from shades of green, beige, brown,
gray, and blue, but in incandescent light, they appear a reddish or
purplish/pink color. Because of their color changing quality, this kind of
garnet is often mistaken for Alexandrite.
Garnet’s light transmission
properties can range from the gemstone-quality transparent specimens to the
opaque varieties used for industrial purposes. The mineral’s luster is
categorized as vitreous (glass-like) or resinous (amber-like).
Because the chemical composition of garnet varies, the
atomic bonds in some varieties are stronger than in others. As a result, the
mineral shows a range of hardness on the Mohs Scale of about 6.5 to 7.5. The
harder varieties, like almandite, are often used for abrasive purposes.
Energy Interpretation by Sylvia Rose-Johnson:
Garnet's powers include healing,
strength, and protection and it is often worn to relieve inflammations of the
skin. It is also believed to regulate the heart and blood flow and aid in