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The Great Garnet!

January is traditionally a great time for self-reflection, planning for the year ahead and looking forward to what is coming up. Those born in January are born under the garnet birthstone – a stone that has been around for centuries and is often described as symbolising loyalty and eternal friendship, a light heart and enduring affections.

Named after the word granatum, which means seed, due to the fact that it resembles a pomegranate seed, garnets are commonly found in America, Russia, Tanzania, Turkey and Kenya. Coming in a variety of colours such as orange, yellow, brown, purple, pink and black as well as the traditional red, the only colour in which garnet is not naturally found is blue and the rarest colour of them all, is a green garnet.

Pandora Garnet Ring Pandora Garnet Ring

Throughout the course of history, garnet was used in many different eras and cultures – in 3100 B.C., the Ancient Egyptians used garnet as inlay jewellery into their designs and creations and the Anglo Saxons and Ancient Romans also used garnet along with other precious stones.

Many native American tribes used the stone for what they believed were its healing powers – it was thought that the garnet stone offered protection to its wearer from poisons and wounds as well as being a preventative cure for depression and an aid to help prevent nightmares.  In particular, red garnets were thought to help ease a fever, stop any bleeding and also reduce inflammation.

Over the years, garnet was adapted to be used as a weapon – the Chinese and Japanese warriors made bullets out of pure garnet as they believed that these garnet bullets would inflict more damage on their unfortunate victims. In 1892 in Kashmir, Hanza warriors fired a shower of garnet bullets at British soldiers, after believing they were far deadlier than lead bullets.

After the death of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis and the subsequent sale of her estate at Sotheby’s in 1996, a magnificent garnet flower brooch dating back to the 19th century was sold for $145,000 as well as a heart shaped garnet ring which fetched $33,350.

View our range of Garnet pieces here.