Garnet is a well-known gemstone that actually comprises several varieties of similar minerals that go by different names and colors but are all collectively known as “garnet”. Names like almandine, andradite, grossular, pyrope, and spessartine might not sound familiar, but they are all just different kinds of garnet. The hardness ranges from 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, so garnet is a pretty hard gemstone, no matter what the variety. In fact, the harder varieties of garnet are being used as abrasive material in some industries.
The color of garnet differs depending on what type of garnet it is. Almandine is all shades of dark red, andradite is all shades of greenish yellow, grossular is in multi-colored forms, pyrope is red to purple, and spessartine is orange to red. The most common color seen in garnet is red (all shades of red), and due to its rich red hues, it has always been favored as jewelry since antiquity.
Such is garnet’s popularity and reputation that it’s been named the birthstone of January. Although found worldwide, the main deposits of the different types of garnet are located in the USA, China, Sri Lanka, India, and Brazil. Gemstone grade garnets can resemble rubies although one way to differentiate them is by the color spectrum that they output when white light is passed through them – Garnet will output yellow and green light bands, while ruby will not. Garnet may also contain traces of yellow or orange hues within its red, while ruby does not. Being much cheaper than ruby, garnet can be a viable alternative for ruby, but please do your due diligence!
Garnet was a sacred stone for the ancient races of the Americas, like the American Indians, Mayans, and Aztecs. It’s regarded as a stone for health and vitality, stimulating the base chakra, and unifying the energies of the physical with the spiritual into one singular purpose, and can help one to commit (or stay committed) to a cause.
Garnet’s energy is protective and calming. Garnet can be used to bring stability to thoughts and to balance up the physical, spiritual, and mental states. It modulates and controls the flow and distribution of energy, bringing order to chaos, and helping one to go with the present flow. For motivation, garnet is quite good in lighting the flames within, helping one to realize and implement ideas and plans. Garnet is a stone that discourages emotional disharmony and helps one to keep level headed at all times.
There is also a rarer form of garnet, called star garnets, which have asterism in it similar to star rubies and sapphires. The star form of garnet is believed to promote a link with other worlds beyond, and to help one remember and realize one’s dreams. Such special star garnets have been found only in a couple places in the world, namely in Idaho, and in India (where star rubies have also been found).
Garnet has been used to help in treatment of spinal issues, nourish the blood, heart, and lungs, and stimulate overall vitality while giving the immune system a boost. It is regarded as an excellent stone to stimulate sexual energies and desire (pretty much like ruby), while regenerating the cells and repairing DNA. The other varieties of garnet have their unique healing properties as well, usually in relation to their own specific colors.
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