Friday, January 04, 2013

January Birthstone: Garnet

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January’s birthstone is the garnet.

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Swarovski Elements Bead - 4 mm Faceted Bicone (5301) - Garnet (36)


The name “garnet” is derived from the Latin “granatum” meaning “pomegranate” because the crystals resemble the red color and seed-like form of this fruit. Most people think of the garnet as a red gemstone, but in fact, it exists in all kinds of colors, such as black, many shades of red and green, or even colorless. The garnet’s variety of colors comes from metals such as manganese, iron, calcium, and aluminum. Some varieties even contain mineral fibers that produce the illusion of a four- or six-rayed star within the stone. Green garnets are most highly prized but are very rare. Emerald green and colorless stones are highly valued, followed by pure red garnets.

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Cubic Zirconia Beads - 6.5 x 17 mm Barrel Faceted Briolette - Garnet (1) -

Garnets are commonly found as small pebbles in streams, where the igneous and metamorphic rocks that contain them have weathered away. They’re found in many places around the world, including North and South America, Australia, India, Asia and Spain.

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Cubic Zirconia Beads - 13 x 18 mm Deep Puffy Faceted Oval - Garnet

Garnet in History
Ancient warriors believed that garnets brought victory. The Crusaders used them as protection against wounds and accidents during their journeys. In contrast, Asiatic warriors believed that glowing garnets, used as bullets, inflicted more severe wounds. In 1892, during hostilities on the Kashmir frontier, the Hanza tribesmen fired on British soldiers with garnet bullets, believing them to be more effective than lead bullets.
In the former Czechoslovakia, evidence of garnet jewelry dating to the Bronze age was found in ancient graves. Garnet jewelry has also been discovered dating back to 3100 B.C. in Egypt, 2300 B.C. in Sumeria, and 2000-1000 B.C. in Sweden. Garnets were treasured in 3rd and 4th century Greece, and continued in popularity during Roman times. Across the Atlantic, Pre-Columbian Aztec and Native Americans also used garnets in their ornaments.

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Stone Beads - 10 x 14 mm Puff Rectangle - Garnet (strand)

As with many precious stones, garnets were once believed to hold medicinal powers. In Medieval times, it protected its wearer against poisons, wounds and bad dreams, and cured depression. Red garnets relieved fever, hemorrhages and inflammatory diseases.

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Swarovski Elements Pendant - 10 mm Faceted Heart (6202) - Garnet

January’s birthstone, the garnet, symbolizes a light heart, loyalty and enduring affections. In modern times, the red garnet is associated with January's birthstone.

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Stone Beads - Tumbled Chips - Garnet (strand)

World-famous Garnet
At the auction of the Estate of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis at Sotheby's on April 24, 1996, a striking cabochon garnet flower brooch from the 19th century was sold for $145,000. In the same year a university student unearthed in central Australia what is believed to be the largest single garnet find ever. This giant rough is thought to weight thousands of tons and measures nearly a hundred feet across.
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Swarovski Vintage Rhinestones - 10 x 12 mm Faceted Rectangle Cut (4600) - Garnet


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