According to the American National Association of Jewelers, garnet is the traditional January birthstone. Garnets come in different shades and colors ranging from red, yellow, orange, blue, brown, purple and pink to colorless. The rarest of these gemstones is the blue garnet. These January gemstones exhibit unique light transmission qualities, making them appear to change color depending on light conditions. In daylight conditions some garnets appear to have different colors, but when viewed in incandescent light they just appear reddish or pink in color.Although associated with the month of January, its bright and warm colors are in contrast to the dull and cold weather experienced in January. Nevertheless, the gemstone is believed to bring friendship, sincerity and loyalty to those born in this month. The gemstone is also believed to possess the mystical power to bring good health and protection to travelers. It is the gemstone for the Zodiac sign Aquarius.
The name garnet is derived from the Latin word “granatus” which means seed or grain. According to Greek mythology, the god of the underworld (Hades) gifted Persephone with a pomegranate fruit before she embarked on her journey to visit her mother, Demeter. During the journey she was kidnaped, but it is believed that the gift of the fruit ensured her safe return. Garnets have been in use since the Bronze Age finding application in diverse fields from abrasives to gemstones. For instance, during the Roman period garnets were used to mark conquered territories. The gemstones were placed in cells of gold applying the ‘cloisonne’ method, and then they were encased in an enamel to protect the inlay.
It is important to note that garnets not only bring loyalty, friendship and consistency to the wearer; but they are also believed to possess some curative powers. During ancient times they were crushed and used for treatment of fever and jaundice. On the other hand, Asians used garnets as weapons since they believed that their red color would inflict serious harm to their enemies. Archeological evidence indicates that such bullets were widely used in India during the 1892 rebellions. However, its most notable and universal use is as a protection amulet for travelers- for it is believed to bring protection and good health, and avert danger from the traveler’s path.
According to Western Numerology or Pythagorean, the destiny number for people with garnet is 2. Individuals with destiny number 2 have character traits that best suit them for peacekeeping or diplomacy positions. They have unique personality traits like power of persuasion, tact, and other subtle diplomatic skills that can assist them to resolve conflicts. As pointed out, individuals whose birth stone is garnet might find greater fulfillment and satisfaction in mediating situations or positions that require high level negotiation skills.
In other instances garnet gemstones have been used to relieve anger and bring happiness to those born in January. This is because anger causes the face to ‘turn red’ and red garnets were believed to bring charm relieving the “redness of the face” hence effecting calmness. Additionally, it is acts as a remedy for those seeking mental tranquility. Soldiers in war often ware emeralds of garnet for health, protection and mental stability.
Garnets have other industrial applications like making abrasives and cutting steel. It can also be used for making water filtration membranes, sand basting and doing finishes for high-end furniture.