Stone spotlight - a periodic rambling of some of my favourite stones where I will share to the best of my ability information about these prolific rocks. You, as a reader may learn something new or in the process, I might even learn something new. Where do they come from? How do they grow? What are they here to teach us?
This month and the first ever Stone Spotlight is about Garnet! I believe it to be a fitting choice as Garnet is the birthstone of January.
Who chooses which stones are going to be the birthstones for the month? Why are these particular gems the centre of attention once a year? According to the American Gem Society, birthstones are believed to date back to Aaron and his breastplate which contained twelve stones that represented the tribes of Israel. (This story is unbeknownst to me so, so I will not dive deeper into it but, he was a grandson of Jacob through his first wife.) It is somewhat fascinating that this story has determined the stone's through correlation from tribes to the months of the year. Could it be because there happened to be twelve each or was there greater significance?
Tangents aside, being as it is January we must talk about Garnet! The name Garnet is derived from the Latin word granatum which translates to seed. So-called as the seeds of a pomegranate which the Garnet resembles. It is a stone which is treasured for the deep red it displays and has been said to bring the wearer eternal happiness. Ancient Egyptians claim it to be the symbol of life. The Egyptians used Garnet in their jewelry and inlaid it in carvings. The use of this dark red stone also predates as far back as the Bronze Age(3000-1200BC). Garnet is durable enough to stand the test of time.
When I hear about the Egyptian's belief about Garnet I immediately think of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. Garnet anyone?
Let's talk about durability. Durable enough to be found in ancient belongings the hardness on the Mohs scale is 6.5 - 7.5. So hardy it was also used in battle. Warriors adorned swords and armour with Garnets as talismans of protection and to ward off plagues. It is also stated to bring goodwill and fortune, prosperity and health to those who hold it. What better gemstone than Garnet to ring in the new year?
There are six types of Garnet: Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular, Andradite and Uvarovite. All are unique in colour, chemical formulas, and spiritual properties. What makes Garnet unique is the isometric crystal system (rhombic, dodecahedron or cubic) in which they are formed.
The minerals which form to make Garnet are responsible for their colour. Aluminum members are mostly responsible for orange, pink to red-purple Garnets. These include Almandine, Pyrope, Spessartine, and the mixed varieties Rhodolite(pyrope +Almandine) and Malaya(pyrope +Spessartine). Green varieties of Garnet are of the Calcium group which include Andradite, Grossular and Uvarovite. This green variety contradicts the origin of the name Garnet. Perhaps the earliest known Garnets first found were of the red variety and later on as science progressed and humans were able to differentiate between species green Garnet had the same makeup as red. This I am speculating. Or perhaps the most common type of Garnet.
We can find Garnets mainly in Australia which contributes to almost half of the world's Garnet supply. India, U.S.A and China are where you can also find Garnet hiding in igneous and metamorphic rocks.
I like to carry Garnet for healing purposes and these are a few words that resonate for me with this stone:
Purity and cleansing
Garnet is my birthstone and I was never a big fan of the colour red, I was happy to learn about the other colour varieties! What is everyone's birthstone? Do you feel a connection to that type?
P.s. I have extended my December amulets/ necklaces sale for my birthday! All sales are reflected on wanderingmoth.com and go until the month of January.
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