Garnet is found the world over, and though commonly known to be red, it is in fact found in a variety of colors and chemical formulas, each with its own set of spiritual properties. Legends and folklore place garnet among the most ancient of talismans. Not only was it prized as an ornamental jewel, but its strong curative powers and protective energies made it invaluable.
Garnet is also known for its utilization of creative energy. It grounds spirit forces within the body and helps in the ability to work lovingly on the physical plane. Yet Garnet is a sensual stone. It represents primordial fire, the creation of the world out of chaos, purification and love. It is a stone of strong, intense feelings.
The distinctive title Garnet is derived from the Latin name Granatum, a pomegranate, because of the resemblance the granular varieties of Garnet bears to the seeds of that fruit. Garnets vary in size from a grain of sand to the size of an apple. According to the Roman historian Pliny, the large dull-colored "Carbunculus of India" (a variety of Garnet) used to be hollowed out into vessels which would hold as much as a pint.
Garnets were used in the former Czechoslovakia as far back as the Bronze Age, and in Egypt more than five thousand years ago. They were used in Sumeria around 2100 B.C. and in Sweden between 1000 and 2000 B.C. They were also popular in ancient Greek and Roman civilizations. According to the Talmud, the only light on Noah's ark was provided by a large Garnet. In Europe during the Middle Ages, Garnet was used to enhance truth, faith and constancy, and to dispel melancholy. As a Warrior's Stone, Garnet served as a talisman in the Crusades for both the Christians and their Muslim enemies.
Garnet is said to have been one of the twelve stones in the Breastplate of the High Priest, and has been used as a sacred stone by the Native American Indians, the South American Indians, the Aztecs, the African tribal elders, and the Mayans. It acts with speed to expand one's awareness due to the flash of lightening contained within, and enhances one's internal fire to bring creative powers to implementation.
Garnets whose color suggested that of blood, were not only believed to confer invulnerability from wounds, but some Asiatic tribes launched garnets from their sling bows, and later as bullets, the principle being the blood-colored stone would inflict a more deadly wound than a leaden bullet. Such were used by the rebellious Hanzas, in 1892, during their hostilities with the British troops on the Kashmir frontier, and many of these precious missiles were preserved as curiosities.
Today, Garnet is not only worn ornamentally as a beautiful gem, but is used widely in industrial markets, from watch gears and scientific instruments to sandpaper and abrasives.
Garnet is a powerful energizing and regenerative stone. It balances, strengthens and protects. While it is one of the most plentiful stones, it has several forms according to its mineral base, and in addition to all the healing and spiritual properties listed in this article, each type has additional properties.
Almandine Garnet unites the energy of scarlet and red with the more muted, earthy overtones of brown. It is intimately tied to the Earth, and is a talisman of protection and unyielding strength, increasing willpower and resistance to all things negative. It aids circulation and all blood related issues. Associated with the First Chakra, it is a stone of physical love and relationships, and a spiritual stone of psychic protection.
Andradite Garnet is well-grounded in Earth's elemental colors of green or olive, dark yellow, and black. A spiritual stone of higher thinking and self-empowerment, it is also a stone of strength and safety. Associated with the Base, Heart and Solar Plexus Chakras, it dissolves feelings of isolation or alienation and attracts intimate encounters with others.
Grossular Garnet exemplifies hope, empowerment, and all things nurturing from Mother Earth. It ranges in sunrise colors of yellow, gold, orange, scarlet and red, and the more popular shades of lush green. It is a stone of prosperity and abundance, encouraging gratitude and service to others. Associated with the Base, Sacral, Solar Plexus and Heart Chakras, Grossular Garnet is a deeply spiritual stone.
Pyrope Garnet is a mesmerizing stone, described as "living fire." Its crystals range in color from rose red to deep crimson, including shades of scarlet, violet, and even indigo. It is a stone of inspiration, bestowing vitality and charisma, and assists in owning one's gifts and abilities, and sharing them with others. It aligns the Base and Crown Chakras, and stimulates warmth and gentleness, unifying creative forces of the self.
Spessartine Garnet is one of the rarer varieties, known as the Garnet of the Sun. Its energy radiates in shades of dark gold, orange, scarlet and deep red. Crystals can be pale yellow if nearly pure, but are almost always mixed with Almandine Garnet. Spessartine activates the analytical processes of the mind, alleviating fears and providing confidence to change one's life. It is associated with the Sacral and Solar Plexus Chakras, awakening creative energies and lending power to one's will.
Uvarovite Garnet is emerald green in color, the only consistently green Garnet. It forms in small, uniform crystals and is rare, most often found in its drusy form, a natural surface coating of tiny sparkling crystals covering a rock, sometimes made into beautiful jewelry. It promotes prosperity and wealth, and assists one in learning to joyfully accept what is offered by the Universe. It stimulates the Heart Chakra and enhances spiritual relationships. This is a calm and peaceful stone.