As we head into the month of January, we are given the opportunity for new beginnings, self-reflection and personal resolutions. Along with this new start comes an inevitable sense of hope and positivity as we look forward to the new year. It is no surprise that the birthstone for January, Garnet, is referred to as the “gem of faith” – with its deep, salient red tones emanating power and fire, this is exactly what we need to get the year started right!
Did You Say Pomegranate?
While Garnet can be found in a variety of colors, including pink, green, black, brown or orange, it is mostly recognized for its intoxicating blood red crystals. According to Earth Sky, the red stones earned their name of Garnet from the Latin word “granatus” – referring to a seed, specifically those of the richly seeded pomegranate fruit which mimics the bundles of gems forming to create the larger stone. This formation, according to Geology.com, occurs when shale is metamorphosed by heat and pressure, creating miniscule grains which gradually expand over time creating these intricate clusters. Now, while they may resemble the succulent fruit, you should resist the temptation to give em’ a bite; landing between a 6.5 – 7.5 on the Moh’s Scale, this stone will definitely be a bust for your pearly whites.
A Powerful History
Due to its durability, Garnet has been able to withstand the test of time – archaeologists have found “primitive style garnet jewelry” in the graves of Czechoslovakians dating back to the Bronze Age (About Birthstones). Going back to 3100 BC the Egyptians fancied to use it in their jewelry, believing it to be a “symbol of life,” (American Gem Society) and also decorated their tombs and gravesites with the red stone. The ancient Romans loved to wear Garnet rings – the gemstone was regularly traded and also used as a symbol of land in their control (knowing how humble the Romans were in their triumphs, we can be certain that this must have been sacred to them).
We are referring to the Garnet now, not the pomegranate (although the latter is filled with plenty of antioxidants and vitamin C). It is said, that for “those who wear it and do good, more good will come” (American Gem Society), however, if you wear it while being deceitful or stealing, its powers will work against you – luckily we don’t have to worry about this, since we know none of our Buddha Mamas are putting any bad karma out there. The real power, however, lies in the gift of Garnet. As a protector of travelers, giving Garnet to a loved one in journey is said to provide them with a safe and timely homecoming, and as a symbol of loyalty, it can also be used to balance one’s yin and yang energy (Birthstones by Months). Garnet has historically embodied eternal friendship, making it a great gift to someone whose friendship you truly honor.