Although garnet can be found in a variety of colors including bright orange, vibrant green and most rarely blue, the most recognized color is the deep red Pyrope garnet . Appropriately so, because the word “garnet” comes from the Middle English word gernet, meaning “dark red.” The Middle English word is derived from the Latin word granatum, meaning “seed,” which refers to the gem’s similarity to lustrous red pomegranate seeds.
Garnet has a long history of symbolism in several cultures. Ancient Egyptians used garnet to inlay jewelry and carvings and considered it a symbol of life. Romans often used garnets for signet rings and Roman warriors carried garnets into battle as talismans for protection. It was also believed that garnet could ward off pestilence and plague, and healers would place garnets on wounds to facilitate recovery. It was sometimes called the “Gem of Faith” because those who wore it and did good actions would draw more good fortune upon themselves, but those who wore it and did bad actions would draw bad fortune. Folklore suggests that the gem brings peace, prosperity, and good health in the home, and those who wear garnet jewelry will enjoy eternal health, wealth, and happiness. Today, the garnet is considered a symbol of lasting friendship and trust.
Garnets are 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale and are so strong that fragments of garnet have been found from jewelry dating back to the Bronze Age. Garnets can be found in Wyoming, Czech Republic, Greece, Russia, Tanzania, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and India.
The fiery reds of the well-known Pyrope garnets and brilliant oranges of Mandarin garnets add a splash of warmth during the cold month of January, both because of its color and because of the warmth of friendship it symbolizes. The rare green Tsavorites make stunningly unique pieces that sparkle with the chilly hues of the season, but are likewise a reminder of friendship and togetherness that warms the heart.
A symbol of friendship and trust as durable as the gem itself, garnet jewelry makes a beautiful and meaningful gift for anyone from friends to siblings to spouses. Visit our shop on Dickson Street in Fayetteville or call 479-521-2000 to learn more about our wonderful selection of garnets!