January's Birthstone: Garnet

By her in January born,
No gem save Garnets should be worn,
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship, and fidelity


Garnet is a name that is used for a group of very complex minerals in the Silicate family. Garnets are found all over the world as small crystals in the matrix stone. All these minerals have their own names and their own chemical composition. Also some of the Garnet varieties are named after their special colour or after the place they were found. Garnets vary in colour from colourless through yellow to green and from pink to bright red or magenta. Blue and emerald green Garnets are also found, although the emerald green variety is very rare. In the table below you will find the various Garnet varieties:

NameColourFormula
AlmandineDark RedFe3Al2Si3O12
AndraliteDark Red, Black, Brown, Green, YellowCa3Fe3+2Si3O12
DemantoidBlue, Yellow, GreenCa3Fe3+2Si3O12
GrossularGreen, Red, Colourless, Pink, OrangeCa3Al2Si3O12
HessoniteTerraCa3Al2Si3O12
MelaniteGreenCa3Fe3+2Si3O12
PyropeBright RedMg3Al2Si3O12
RhodoliteRaspberry Red(Fe3, Mg3)Al2Si3O12
RosolitePinkish RedCa3Al2Si3O12
SpessartiteOrange to TerraMn3Al2Si3O12
TopazoliteYellowCa3Fe3+2Si3O12
TsavoriteGreenCa3Al2Si3O12
UvaroviteEmerald GreenCa3Cr2Si3O12

All these Garnets have a few things in common: they are formed under extreme pressure and extreme heat and the habitat of these stones is cubic. The hardness of all members of the Garnet group varies between 6,5 and 7,5 on the Mohs' scale.

The name Garnet has been in use from the 13th century onwards, and it is generally accepted that the stone was named after the Pomegranate, the 'malum granatum'. Other scientists contest this theory and declare that the name Garnet is derived from the Latin word 'granum, which is also the root of the word Granite. The word 'granum' signifies 'seed' or 'grain' and those that are partial to this theory also point out that most of the Garnets are found as crystals that appear to be sown into the matrix stone and say that therefore the etymology of the name of this stone should be sought in the word 'granum'.

In Ancient times Garnets were called Carbuncle, this name was only used for the Red Garnets, Carbuncle is derived from the Latin 'carbonculus', which means 'red hot coals'. This name was used for all red stones with fire in Ancient times, and therefore the use of the Red Garnet before the 13th century is somewhat unclear.

According to legend Noah used a Garnet to light his Arc at night, like a lamp, and Moses made the breast plate of the Jewish high priest, in which he also used Garnet and 11 other stones. Garnet has been associated with those that are born in the month January for centuries and even in the modern tradition this is the birthstone for January. The stone is also associated with the Greek Goddess of the Underworld, Persephone, the reason for this is that Persephone ate a few seeds of the Pomegranate when she resided in the Underworld and because the link between Pomegranates and Garnets has always been made. This stone is also associated with the Sumerian-Babylonian Goddess Lilith, who was the first wife of the Biblical Adam according to Hebrew mythology; Lilith is also associated with all red stones.

Although Garnets were referred to as Carbuncle in Ancient times, there is still a lot of history of this stone known to mankind right now, especially because of grave finds from the Stone Age, we know that this stone was used early on in history as an ornamental stone but it was also used for Garnet objects of use. All over the world Garnets were worn as amulets, it was thought that this powerful stone was found in the urine of the lynx and early on in history mankind was convinced that this stone contained magical powers. The Ancient Egyptians, Sumerians and Greeks used this stone in their jewellery and the oldest pieces of jewellery date back to ca. 3500 before common era and were found in Egypt and Sumeria. And there are many legends that revolve around the Garnet, one of the most well known may be the legend of Atilla's Garnet, Atilla (395-453), the cruel ruler of the Huns, had a bracelet in which a Garnet was set. Garnets were worn by many ancient warriors to attract victory and to protect against wounds. One day Atilla lost the Garnet, that had made sure that he won many battles, during a battle. Around 451 Atilla was defeated and whether or not this defeat was related to the loss of his Garnet will remain a mystery for ever. For centuries the stone was lost, until it was found and set in the crown of the German emperor. But somehow this Garnet lived a life of its own, or so it seemed. In 1437 the German emperor Sigismund threw the crown out of the window for some strange reason. and the stone has been missing ever since. It is said that one of the knights from his court picked it up, but until today the stone has not been found again. Some people still search for the legendary Garnet Atilla, also because it is said that the stone was cracked by the fall from the window.

In the Middle Ages Garnets were also worn to obtain victory in battle by warriors, but also to protect them against injuries and the plague. Garnets were prominently placed in the treasure chambers of the European kings. The Chinese, Japanese and in the Southwest of the Americas bullets made out of Garnet were used, because they were convinced that these bullets would cause more damage in their attended victims. This was still used in the 19th century. And there are many more stories to tell about Garnets in history. Even today some of the uses of Garnets that were used in Ancient times are still in use. Italian widows wear Garnets as a grieving stone for this stone gives comfort to those who have lost a loved one. A second reason for this may be that Garnet is a stone that attracts love and could make sure that the widow finds herself a new husband.

The uses of Garnets in the Gemstone Therapy are as versatile as the colour scheme in which this stone occurs. Garnet stimulates willpower, self confidence and stamina. This stone also protects you against nightmares and it makes sure that you will remember your dreams. Garnet energises its wearer, and gives them courage, perseverance, charisma and also patience and self-respect. On the physical level Garnets stimulate the production of the red blood cells and the haemoglobin, and it makes sure that the blood stays healthy. Garnets regulate the blood pressure, the cholesterol levels and stimulate the blood circulation. Garnets stimulate healthy skin and cure diseases of the skin. Wear this stone when you suffer from herpes simplex and/or haemorrhoids. All Garnet varieties strengthen the heart, they lessen and cure arrhythmia, palpitations of the heart and cardiac weakness. Garnet positively influences the digestion and makes sure of a good intake of nutrients, minerals and vitamins. Also the endocrine glands like the thyroid, pituitary gland and pancreas benefit from wearing Garnet, and a number of organs also do, like the kidneys, lungs and the heart. Garnet stimulates movement and makes sure that all joints are functioning properly, therefore this stone is an excellent aid for those that suffer from arthritis and rheumatism. Garnets are often associated with sexuality, this is probably due to the red colour of the most well known varieties of this stone. And this isn't really all that strange for Garnets stimulate sexuality and cure complaints like frigidity and impotence, but they also cure ailments of the sex organs, venereal diseases, enhance fertility and diminish menstrual complaints like cramps.

Garnets balance emotional disharmony and align the emotional and spiritual bodies. This stone also stimulates clairvoyance and intuition. Garnets are positive stones, they protect against negativity, evil, demons and false friends, or the so called 'wrong crowd'. Garnets stimulate long friendships, love, success and peace. If you give a loved one that has to leave a Garnet before they do, the stone will make sure that you will meet that person again some day. Garnets given as presents symbolise happiness and faithfulness. Garnet balances the yin & yang energies, strengthens the aura and harmonises the Kundalini. These stones protect against lightning and theft. The protection against theft is embedded into this stone, it is said that a Garnet that was unlawfully obtained, will curse the wearer until its safe return to its rightful owner. Garnet also protects its wearer against danger on travels and amulets made of Garnet are used to attract good fortune and health. Used in meditation this stone stimulates creativity.

In magic Garnets are mainly used to attract healing and love. A rather simple love spell using Garnet is the following: take a heart shaped Red or Pink Garnet and cleanse it during the waning or New Moon, consequently you charge the stone during the Waxing Moon, the time to plant new seeds. the day associated with love and the Goddess of Love, Aphrodite is Friday. Therefore you should program the stone on Friday with the intent to attract a new love into your life. Be specific in your description of what you are looking for in a partner.* Anoint the stone with two drops of Rose Oil or Patchouli Oil and put it into a small red velvet pouch and wear it on your heart until a new lover enters your life.

Garnets strengthen the energies of the following Bach Flower Remedies: Cerato, Gentian, Gorse, Hornbeam, Rock Rose, Scleranthus & Wild Oat.

*A note concerning the description of your intended partner. My personal vision on using magic to attract a lover is the following: In love magic the golden rule from the Wiccan Rede "An it harm none, do as ye will" is more important than ever. If you are in love with a certain person it is wrong to focus your attention on that particular person in my opinion. You play with the free will of another person and no matter how you twist and turn it to reason, it will harm the other person. Therefore keep your description clear but generic, what character trades, appearance (not necessarily of course) but do not name names etc. If it is meant to be that you and this person you are in love with end up together, it will happen no matter what! But do not take their right away to make that decision themselves away from them!

Medical Disclaimer

Although gemstones can help the healing process, we would like to stress that if you have severe and persistent complaints you should consult your G.P. or specialist! Gemstone therapy cannot replace medication. The remedies listed on this website are given as information, not as prescriptions or medical advice and GemstoneDeva.com cannot be held responsible for your choice to use gemstones instead of consulting a specialist or G.P. Should you choose to use a natural method or gemstone therapy for treating your ailments, the legal responsibility is your own.