Garnet most commonly occurs in red.
The origin of the name “garnet” lies in this deep red hue. The name “garnet” comes from the Medieval Latin word, “granatum”, which is an adjective meaning “dark-red”. The use of red garnet dates back thousands of years, when it was used by Egyptian pharaohs for both decorative and ceremonial purposes.
The most commonly occurring color is red and the rarest is blue. Garnet also rarely occurs in color-change varieties, which have a different color depending on whether they are viewed in incandescent or natural light.
Garnets can be identified by its occurrence in metamorphic rock, its hardness (6.5 – 7.5 on the Mohs scale), color, refractive index and cubic crystal structure. However, the quickest way to identify garnet is with the use of strong magnets. Garnet is attracted to magnets because it contains high concentrations of iron and/or manganese.
In the Hindu belief systems, garnets are associated with the first chakra, which is positioned at the base of the spine. The root chakra when clear is associated with healthy sexual activity and feelings of security and stability. Garnet is also thought to promote successful business, encourage compassion and aid self-confidence. Garnet is said to have the ability to heal the blood and encourage good circulation.
Garnet is the traditional birthstone for January, the zodiacal stone for Aquarius and the second anniversary stone.
To clean your garnets, simply use warm soapy water and a soft cloth. Be sure to rinse well to remove soapy residue.