January Birthstone – Garnet- a Succulent Pomegranate Seed

We are back, in 2012, and kicking off the year with the birthstone for January.

‘Granatus’ is the Latin word for ‘grain’ or ‘seed’ and has been used to name this deep red stone, first mined in Sri Lanka over 2,500 years ago.


The Red Garnet

The image of the sensual pomegranate has been consistently highlighted by great artists through out the ages. Botticelli depicted the fruit in the detail of ‘The Madonna of the Pomegranate’, circa 1487, in the Uffizi Gallery collection in Florence, Italy.

The Madonna of the Pomegranate

Archaeologists have found jewellery made with garnets in digs that researched antiquity as far back as the Bronze age and almost every era of history has utilized the garnet in jewellery and decorations.

Cameo Garnet with Mask of Tragedy

Edwardian Garnet Necklace

There are thousands of legends and myths surrounding the garnet. One story from the Bible relates Noah’s use of the gem on the ark to light his way through stormy nights and a Greek myth links the garnet to Persephone and her return from the underworld by accepting pomegranate seeds from Hades, who believed the beautiful, glowing kernels of fruit would eventually return her to him.

Close-up of Bernini's sculpture of Persephone in the Borghese Gallery in Rome

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One Response to January Birthstone – Garnet- a Succulent Pomegranate Seed

  1. I love this! Especially the connection with mythology. I will look at garnets differently now…