Deep red garnets are the best-known variety of this stone, but it is also found in other colors, varying from orange-red to almost purple and from golden yellow to brilliant green. The stone’s name is derived from a Roman word meaning “seedlike” because the red tones sometimes resemble pomegranate seeds. Garnets are widely available and vary in price from quite reasonable to very expensive.
Today, smooth red garnets are popularly set into dangle earrings or fashioned into pendant necklaces of multiple stones. Garnets are hard and dense, making them easy to use, whether simply shaped and polished or cut and faceted. They are stunning in jewelry when combined with pearls and gold. Larger, simply cut stones make great men’s signet rings.
Garnet is the January birthstone, and it has traditionally been associated with gifts for both second and 19th wedding anniversaries. Symbolizing a gift of love in Greek mythology, garnets were often given to travelers to assure a safe and speedy return. Although used since ancient times, garnet jewelry reached its height of popularity in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Today, the stone holds a unique place in the lexicon of modern jewelry. Look for distinctive pendants and earrings featuring heart and garnet designs. They speak of caring, truthfulness, new beginnings, physical and mental health, and positivity. If you’re thinking of gift-giving, those are all perfect thoughts to express on Valentine’s Day, which is just around the corner!