Garnet History and Fun Facts
This ancient gem is one of the original birthstones as derived from the Breastplate of Aaron, one of three sources used to compile the modern birthstone list. Discoveries in recent years have thrown open the doors on new species of garnet including the gorgeous Tanzanian variety known as Raspberry Garnet and the orange Speesartite Garnet (see photo). Garnets were used in jewelry as long ago as the Bronze Age. The Latin "granatum" meaning, having many seeds, and similar to a pomegranate in size and color, is thought to be the origin of the name Garnet. Garnets are harder and heavier than quartz but are a bit brittle and can chip. Except for Demantoid Garnet, these gems have a low dispersion (sparkle) so you usually don't find them in an emerald or rectangular cut which would make them appear dull. As an amulet, garnets are thought to be calming, reducing anger and discord. To the ancients, garnet was the symbol of fire!