The garnet stone meaning the tiny silicate minerals used as gemstones and abrasives ever since the dawn of man’s path on industrialization and ingenuity in the Bronze age, also fill a crucial role as natural scrolls on which earth has imprinted its genealogy.
Since garnets don’t alter as fast as other minerals, they act as the preservatives of the original elements in the cooking recipes of earth. Hence, they offer a glimpse into the genesis and temperature-time histories of the many rocks they grow in. The gems also depict another type of genesis – man’s first desire and intuitive love for precious stones.
Why else would a young man born 3000 years ago be buried wearing a necklace made of garnets? The young man’s bones might have turned to dust, but the jewel endured as a testimony of the stone’s prevailing durability.
Garnet Stone Meaning: History and Legendary Associations
Enduring in Every Way
According to the Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, the garnet stone meaning relates to ‘a brittle and more or less transparent red silicate mineral that has a vitreous luster, occurs in many crystals but also in massive forms and in grains, is found commonly in gneiss and mica schist, and is used as a semiprecious stone and as an abrasive.’
If there’s anything to deduce from the definition above is the garnet stone certainly appears like a versatile and plentiful mineral. In fact, garnet is an umbrella term for a family of ten different minerals, with names such as almandine, pyrope, spessartine, andradite, mozambique, grossular, and uvarovite. The chemical composition and crystal structure are the unifying features of all the garnet minerals.
There is hardly any other stone that spans over such a broad spectrum of colors, sizes, varieties, and locations. Could this be the reason the garnet stone meaning translates to ‘seedlike’ in Latin in reference to the pomegranate fruit? Or is it the gem’s red-jeweled and granular resemblance to the seeds of the flavored fruit?
Garnets – A Rich Menu of Precious Stones
In colors of red, yellow, orange, green, violet, brown, pink, and black, the garnets come in strings of desirable stones. The flawless green variety, in particular, the demantoid, is one of the most expensive gems in existence.
The garnet usually rates a hardness grade of 7 on the Mohs scale. However, a large garnet is a hard find. The gems even come as sandy grains. Plus, clarity is the garnet’s strong feature. After all, it’s a tradeoff all precious gems share – once they allow foreign elements in so as to combine and bestow that desired brilliance and sparkle, they also lend themselves vulnerable to cracks and dirt.
As one writer once said, if a garnet loses its shine, disaster and calamities are on their way. Thus, depending on size, clarity, and variety, one who desires a gem-quality garnet can pay up to $5000 per carat.
Legends of the Red-Blooded Garnet
Legends place garnets among the most prized of talismans. Beauty was, of course, part of the reason powerful kings and famous philosophers have been praising the gem for 5000 years now. However, the gem’s bewitching powers lay also in its strong healing properties and the reserve of energies it stores inside.
Bohemia, now a part of Czechoslovakia, was in the Bronze period a tremendous source of gem quality garnet stones. As you trek through the Czech countryside nowadays, you can still pop in a castle or church with outstanding interiors ornamented with garnet. Cutting, polishing and creating tightly-joined garnet jewelry is still a time-honored industry in the country.
However, Bohemians were not alone in their love for the pomegranate-resembling gems.
The King of Saxony is rumored to have owned a garnet weighing over 465 carats. Garnets range in dimensions from the minuscule – no larger than a grain of sand – to the generous apple-sized gems. In his times, jewelers would decorate golden metal works with the garnets in the cloisonné style. The Anglo-Saxons imported the technique from the Byzantines.
We find traces of the history of the garnet stone in the Roman annals compiled by Pliny. He had called the garnet ‘the Carbunculus of India’. Plato also ordered a self-portrait on a piece of garnet.
The Talmud glorified the gem as the guiding light of Noah’s ark while it drifted on an endless dark ocean. Aaron’s breastplate is also said to have numbered garnet as one of the twelve precious stones.
A Battle-Hardened Precious Stone
Throughout centuries, garnets conquered the European scene in a brilliant sweep. The Middle Ages, inclined as they were towards legends and tales of knightly bravery, championed the garnet stone as a Warrior Stone. The crusades used the gem as a talisman to enhance courage, faith, and consistency. The wearer would be able to see and deflect approaching danger thanks to the stone’s highly perceptive nature. The garnets also served to cure depression, relieve diseases, stop hemorrhages, and protect against the evil eye.
Muslims were no strangers either of the wonders of the garnet stone. Meaning it fills an important role as the illuminator of the Fourth Heaven of the Moslems.
It speaks of the omnipresence of the stone that Native American Indians, Aztecs, Mayans, as well as African tribe chiefs used it as a sacred stone in battle. The connection between war and garnets is more apparent than we think. It lies in the gem’s resemblance to the blood drops shed on the battlefield.
In addition to acting as a protective talisman, the stone could also be used as a counterattack weapon. The rebellious Hanzas of India have certainly tried to discourage the British troops advancing toward the gates to Kashmir by launching garnets from their sling bows.
The principle runs on the assumption that it would only need a scratch for the blood-colored stones to inflict a deadly wound by way of a higher-power. The precious ‘bullets’ did no more than enrich the British soldiers. Some of them are on display at museums as history’s little curiosities.
Garnet Stone Meaning in Today’s World
No surprise then that the Victorians used the garnets in heavy supply for lavish jewelry. Nowadays, pure garnets still endow precious pieces of adornment with their red or green glamorous sparkle.
In the US, garnet has earned a few titles on the way: the state mineral of Connecticut, Idaho’s state precious stone, and New York’s signature gem. Finally, garnet stone meaning in today’s jewelry industry carries weight. This gem is a must for your collection. Just don’t accidentally swallow it thinking it’s the pomegranate desert you’ve ordered.