January Birthstones

01.01.22 Happy New Year all. Let’s take a look at January’s birthstone which is garnet. You know garnets, right? That deep pinkish red colour that looks like red wine? Well yes…  and no. Garnets are generally considered to be only that colour but, in fact, they are also found in shades of orange, green, brown and even black. In these cases they have different names – for example, spessartine – but are still a type of garnet.

The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word “granatum” which means “seedlike.” The Latin name for a pomegranate is Punica granatum which makes complete sense.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans highly valued this gem. In addition to other items of jewellery they would use garnet signet rings to stamp wax seals on important documents and letters. Archaeologists have also discovered garnet jewellery and amulets placed around the necks of Pharaohs in old Egyptian tombs.

According to Jewish tradition, Noah took a gem into the Ark to be used as a source of light. During the flood, the sun and the moon didn’t shine, but traditional lore says this precious stone shone “more brilliant by night than by day, so enabling Noah to distinguish between day and night.” Some accounts refer to the gem aboard the Ark as a “carbuncle” which medieval texts describe as a red gemstone with magical properties, usually capable of providing its own illumination to an otherwise dark interior. Although technically a carbuncle can be *any* red gemstone, the term is almost always used to describe a red garnet.

Today garnets are considered “the warrior’s stone” but this idea that garnets have the power to shield their wearers from harm is very ancient and very widespread. From Saxon and Celtic kings to Native American healers who believed these stones also had protective powers against injury and poison, tales of garnets being carried into battle began centuries ago with the stones often set into sword hilts and shields. In China, a garnet was believed to represent a tiger’s soul which appeared after the noble animal’s death.

The traditional red colour of the garnet has, since ancient times, been associated with the heart and blood. People believed it was capable of stirring the heart to great deeds, and that it could prevent haemorrhage and improve the circulation. Today crystal healers might place garnets on the base chakra to boost energy and endurance. It is very much a stone of health and life force promoting vitality which is said to be particularly beneficial for the heart and lungs.

Garnet is useful for anyone in crisis as it can strengthen the survival instinct bringing courage and hope into seemingly hopeless situations. It is believed to have the power to turn a crisis into a challenge.

Garnet jewellery and any other items can be viewed HERE.