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Garnet: History, Symbolism, & Power

by Natacha Metayer 01 Jan 2022 0 Comments

Garnet: History, Symbolism, & Power

January’s birthstone is the gloriously deep-red gemstone reminiscent of pomegranate seeds, Garnet. The history of garnet, with its symbolism and power, reach worldwide over centuries. 

Prized for beautiful, rich color and durability, garnet has also inspired legends and tales of love, light, friendship, and vitality.


The name garnet simply means dark red when traced back centuries to the Latin phrase punica granatum, or pomegranate. Garnet’s dark red shade is like the pomegranate’s red seeds. 

The History of Garnet 

The history of garnet goes back to the Bronze Age, over 5000 years ago. Even in ancient Egypt, garnets decorate statues of Isis, the goddess of earth fertility, to symbolize her power. By the 3rd century BC, the Greeks set garnets in huge gold rings. The Romans made carvings out of garnet stones. Almandine garnets get their name from Alabanda. This is a town in Asia Minor, the center of gem polishing in the 2nd century AD, during the reign of the Roman senator Pliny the Younger. Several Asian tribes made garnets into bullets. They believed that the red stone could inflict more severe injuries than lead bullets. In Victorian England in the 1800s, garnets set in hoop earrings, brooches and bracelets were all the rage.


What is Special about Garnet?

Gem and crystal connoisseurs worldwide accept the symbolism and power of garnet. Garnet is a useful crystal to carry in a crisis, especially when there appears to be no way out or when life is traumatic. Said to sharpen the holder’s perception about themselves and other people, garnet opens the heart to bestow self-confidence. Garnet is the stone of strength and perseverance.


Spiritual Meaning of Garnet?

Garnet’s bright red is a fiery crystal of passion for embodying the energy of creativity and strength. The history of garnet includes being the oldest crystal used for spiritual protection. Garnet stones fortify, activate, and strengthen the survival instinct of the holder. This gives courage and hope, clearing negative chakra energy.


Garnet Myth

Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine, was captured by Hades, the god of the underworld. Before Persephone was released, Hades wanted to guarantee she would come back to him. So, he gave her pomegranate seeds to assure her return. The word garnet comes from the word in Latin that means pomegranate.


Then, of course, quality garnets are bright like a flame. Jewish tradition says Noah brought a garnet into the Ark to use as a source for light. During the time of the Flood, the Sun and Moon did not shine, but the precious garnet stone shone more brilliant by night than by day, so enabling Noah to distinguish between day and night.  


Benefits of Wearing Garnet

Because garnet symbolizes strength and perseverance and reinforces tenacity as a commitment stone. The history of garnet includes ancient Egyptians considering garnets as a symbol of life. And then in the Middle Ages, garnet was a medicine. Garnet amulets warded off pestilence and getting struck by lightning and even the plague for warriors in India and Persia. And a lion carved of garnet protected health and offered safety during travels. The garnet’s red color also suggested it was good for circulation and helped hemorrhages.


In modern crystal therapy, garnets help fight poisoning, hypothyroidism, depression, back and neck pains. Garnets also enhance the wearer’s emotional intelligence (EQ) and lower sexual inhibitions.


Where to Find Garnets 

The garnet mineral is found worldwide. In fact, rough garnets are quite common, so industry uses them as an abrasive for sandpaper and in filters. But as a gem, mining is more challenging. 


Different types of garnet are in various locations worldwide. 

  • Precious Demantoid mines are in Namibia and Russia
  • Tsavorite mines in Tanzania and Kenya
  • Pinkish red rhodolite is in Sri Lanka and India 
  • Mandarin garnets are in Namibia 
  • The top garnet producers are Australia, India, the United States and China.

Are Garnets Expensive?

Garnet stone prices vary dramatically. The range is from about $500 a carat for a gemstone with inclusions to $7,000 a carat for larger, cleaner stones. The most valuable garnet in the world is Demantoid, a green, iron and calcium-rich garnet priced near $7,000 a carat. In comparison, diamonds range from $2,500 to $18,000 a carat. So, no, garnets are not expensive as they cost about 80% less than a similar diamond. 

In Summary

The history of garnet shows how this incredibly beautiful gemstone has held the world’s fascination for centuries. So, with such incredible symbolism and power, it is not hard to imagine a garnet on board the Ark to show the way. Many love garnets for their history, symbolism, power, exquisite elegance, or have a January birthday. But no matter – a garnet brings hope.

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