Garnets are a favorite of mine, brilliant and fiery, and the birthstone for those of us lucky enough to be born in January - we must of needed the hot red garnet glow to warm us up. So, what's not to love?
Thousands of years ago, red garnet necklaces were worn by the pharaohs, and were buried with their mummies. Ancient Romans, wore garnets in rings and other jewelry and used carved garnets as insignia stamps to adhere wax to secure documents.
Red garnets were among the most widely traded gems in the time of Pliney the Elder. In the Middle Ages red garnets were worn by many of the clergy and nobility.
It is a hard, durable, brilliant stone, and is found in many colors other than the classic deep red, including green, yellow, orange, pink and violet. Garnet even occurs in certain shades of red that have been taken for some varieties of ruby. In fact the name Garnet appears to originate with the Latin 'granatum malum' which means pomegranate.
It is the traditional birthstone for January and the stone for the Zodiac sign of Aquarius.
Garnet is also thought to aid in healing, giving strength and protection. During the Middle Ages it was used as a remedy for the plague and inflammatory diseases. Like Rubies, a garnet warned its owner of approaching danger and trouble by changing its color, and was often used as a gift between friends.