January’s Birthstone, a History

You may know your birthstone, its properties and meaning – but do you know its history? We’ve touched on this subject in past blogs, but here is a more in-depth look at garnet’s rich past. According to The American Gem Society and their research, this gem is so durable, remnants of garnet jewelry can be found as far back as the Bronze Age. Evidence also shows that the red beauty was favored among nobility during the Middle Ages. However, the first recorded appearance of this radiant red stone was around 3100 BC, highlighted in hieroglyphics. Carvings show that the ancient Egyptians were some of the first we see to use garnet as inlays in their jewelry. They believed it was a symbol of life. Garnet was also very popular among the Romans, used in signet rings in the 3rd and 4th Century.


They go on to describe that this gemstone was also used as a talisman for protection both by warriors going into battle and to those who wanted to ward off pestilence and plague. Many people in ancient times believed that specific stones held magical powers that could be used to prevent or beckon certain powers that be. Some ancient healers and wise men even placed garnets in wounds and praised the prowess of its healing powers.


The AGS also notes that the Victorians made garnet very popular during their time period. Some of the loveliest garnet jewelry from that era mimics its pomegranate namesake, with clusters of tiny red gems forming a larger statement piece. According to AGS’s website, the word garnet is derived from Latin “granatum” which means seed, and is called so because of the gemstone’s resemblance to the beautifully red seeds of the pomegranate.


Today, garnet lives on giving off a royal essence, and making a stunning accent to any jewelry piece. So, if Garnet is your stone, let the experts at Hemming Jewelers, Jacksonville’s #1 custom jewelers, make your next birthstone decorated piece, and not only will you represent yourself, but you will be carrying on a tradition that began thousands of years ago!