Garnet

Garnet is mostly known to be the beautiful deep red gem from jewelry stores. However, Garnet is found in more than 20 types: Rhodolite, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular Garnet, Andradite and Uvarovite are just few of them. They all have a different composition and different colors. The name of the mineral is derived from the Latin word granatus (meaning grain), which refers to the red seeds in the pomegranate.

Rhodolite Garnet is red, with a range of colors from rose red to purple. Its name means “rose stone” in Greek. It is found in Brazil, Tanzania, Zambia, Sri Lanka and US.

Grossular Garnet includes Tsavorite (Kenya) and African Green Garnet. It takes its name from gooseberries, due to the similarities in color. Rainbow Garnet is a sub-type of Grossular Garnet that is multicolored.

Spessartine Garnet is yellow-orange, and its name comes from Spessart, Germany where it was first discovered. It can be also found in Brazil, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Sweden and USA.

Almandine Garnet is orange-red to purple, and it is found in India, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Afghanistan, Czech Republic and Austria. It takes its name from Almandine town.

Andradite Garnet is glossy black. It is found in Mexico and Greenland, and its name was given after a Portuguese mineralogist.

Uvarovite Garnet – named after a Russian public figure, has a deep green color and it is found in Russia, Poland, Finland and India.

Formation

A silicate mineral, garnet is found in many types of rocks, but is especially common in metamorphic rock types such as schist and amphibolite. It is commonly found in igneous rocks.  Garnets can be found as individual crystals, pebbles, or clumps of crystals.

Properties

Most garnets have reddish colors, but they can also be yellow, orange, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink, and colorless. Garnets with blue hues are rare. It is not uncommon for crystals to have layers of lighter and darker colors. While all Garnets are silicate minerals, Rhodolite is a magnesium aluminum silicate, Spessartine is a manganese aluminum silicate, Grossular is a calcium aluminum silicate, Almandine is a iron aluminum silicate, Andradite is a calcium iron silicate and Uvarovite is a calcium chromium silicate. Most of them have a hardness of 7-7.5 on Mohs scale.

 

Legends

There are numerous legends and folklore associated with garnets. A red garnet was said to light up Noah’s Ark. Greek, Roman and Egyptian ruins contain many garnets. Red garnet necklaces were found in the tombs of Egyptian pharaohs dating back 4000 years ago. Ancient Romans used garnets to stamp wax seals on important documents. In Pakistan, locals fought the British using garnet bullets in late 1880s. 

It was common in the Middle Ages to carry an image of a lion on a garnet to guard the health, especially when traveling. For centuries, garnets were worn as insect repellents. 

The ancient practice of exchanging garnets between parted friends symbolized their affection and guaranteed their return.

Hundreds of years ago, it was also believed to drive off demons and ghosts. 

Symbolism: Abundance, prosperity, wealth, healing, protection, strength

Element: Earth

The red garnet is believed to bolster vigor, strength, and endurance.  

In Crystal healing, garnet is used to relieve skin conditions, especially inflammations. It also regulates the heart and blood.

For Pagan rituals, it is worn or used to tap into extra energy. Pagans carry or wear one when they extert their energy (hiking a mountain or during intense ritual work). 


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