When hearing the word garnet, people usually think of red garnet, a lovely gemstone. The origin of the word "garnet" comes from the Medieval Latin word "Garanatus", an adjective that means "seedlike" as in a pomegranate. It seems accurate when you consider the fact that small garnets look like the bright red seeds found inside a pomegranate.
A garnet is a brittle and more or less transparent red silicate mineral that has a vitreous luster and occurs in many crystals, forms and sizes. It is used both as a semiprecious stone and as an abrasive.
Garnet is the birthstone for January and a stone that celebrates the second anniversary of marriage. This gem has been worn throughout history with some pieces of garnet jewelry found in graves that date back to 3000 B.C.
The King of Saxony is also said to have had a garnet of over 465 carats. Plato had his portrait engraved on a garnet by a Roman engraver. In Bohemia (now Czechoslovakia) mounting garnets was a rich industry and many Bohemians wore them. In fact, garnet jewelry is still found in the Czech Republic and the stones are arranged in the traditional tightly joined fashion. Garnets were also popular in Europe in the 18th and 19th century and were frequently used for jewelry in Victorian times. In Spanish astrology, this gem represents the sun.
Since garnet is a group name for the silicate minerals that include pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, andradite, mozambique and uvarovite, it is a far more diverse gem than the name suggests. Garnet is one of the most plentiful stones when it comes to color. There are only a few gems that unite a spectrum of color and luster as garnet.
Garnet is now found in China, Madagascar, Myanmar, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and the USA.