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What is Garnet?

Garnet is a large family of gems with closely related properties. It is a group of minerals that are closely related in chemical makeup and structure, and which occur in many different colour varieties including red to purplish-red (pyrope and almandine) which are the most common, as well as rare greens (demantoid and tsavorite), and orange to brown (spessartite and hessonite).

Garnet is the birthstone for January, and the word garnet itself is derived from the Latin granatum meaning pomegranate because of the once thought strong resemblance of red crystals to its seeds. 

A selection of mainly red, purplish red to orange and orange-brown garnets showing the variety of colours.


Much lore surrounds garnet. According to one centuries-old authority garnet would gladden the heart and dispel sorrow. It was the most popular gem in Greek jewellery from the time of Alexander the Great, when it seemed to have had fertility significance.

Garnet was said to represent friendship, and if worn would improve relationships. It was also deemed to have great healing properties and also protect you. It was said that, in the Middle Ages, garnets were worn by knights, who would place them on their shields to protect them from injury.

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