garnet, a stone of royalty

Garnet refers to a whole family of stones that usually range in color from red to burgundy to black. There are even some with more of a cinnamon color, and other variations besides. Since it’s a very imprecise term, we’ve described and pictured a number of minerals that go by the name “garnet” below.

Lore: The word “garnet” comes from the same root as the word “pomegranate”: granum, which is Latin for seed. But if you look at a handful of these small, regularly-shaped gems, they do look a bit like pomegranate seeds. The red of garnet is so intense that this stone has often been associated with drops of blood, and this is reflected in various stories from all over the world. For example, a myth from India says that when the demon Vala was slain, his finger- and toenails were scattered all over the world as garnets. There are also legends about its brightness, claiming that garnet’s internal light glows bright enough to light up a room. In fact, the Koran says that the fourth heaven is filled with garnets that bathe it in warm light.

About the word “carbuncle,” which often refers to garnet: Geology may be slow, but the names of crystals change a lot — so much so that it’s confusing to read older texts about crystals, because it’s hard to know what stone they actually refer to. For example, “carbuncles” might actually mean rubies, sapphires, or even diamonds — though most often, a carbuncle is a garnet. But those old references turn up some pretty weird stories, too. A German botanist investigating plant life in New Guinea turned up this one: The queen of the Island of Amboin had left her baby in a hammock while she worked. (Amboin’s pretty small, so being queen there didn’t have many perks.) When she came back to check on her child, she was horrified to see a big snake dangling over his hammock, and a bright spot on the boy’s body exactly the color of blood. She ran to the hammock, hoping to kill the terrible stake that she believed had killed her baby. But instead of blood, she found that the shining red she’d seen was actually a carbuncle the snake had dropped on the little boy. The grateful queen kept the lucky snake nearby for the rest of its life, feeding and caring for it. As for the little prince, his stone shone so bright, he used it as a nightlight. And when he grew up, he presented his treasure to the King of Siam and became a favorite of that powerful ruler.

Some of the varieties:

An amazing variety of garnets (clockwise from top): black andradite garnet, green grossular garnet, pyrope garnet, spessartine garnet (tumbled), spessartine (raw cluster), garnet in limestone matrix, and hessionite.

Care and safety: Since many forms of garnet contain aluminum, it should not be used in crystal elixirs.

Metaphysical properties:

GARNET, ANDRADITE BLACK: (Also known as Melanite) Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 6th Chakra (Third Eye Chakra/Brow Chakra) for grounding, for protection of the energy body from psychic attack, to stimulate one’s clairvoyant abilities (psychic sight), to heal disorders of the liver, to facilitate trance states (especially for channeling), and to provide a window into the Akashic Records to learn about past, present, and future.

GARNET, DEMANTOID GREEN: Use at the 3rd Chakra(Solar Plexus Chakra) or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to connect one with beings form the fairy realm, to aid one in seeing the beauty and magic of trees, to aid one in developing a great appreciation of nature, to enhance one’s knowledge and understanding of the plant kingdom (especially herbalism), to shield and protect the heart chakra from outside energies, to heal the emotional body, and for protection from envy or jealousy (either from having these feelings toward others or vice versa).

GARNET, GROSSULAR GREEN: (Also known as Green Grossularite) Use at the 3rd Chakra (Solar Plexus Chakra) or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to open chakras that have been shut down while keeping them protected; to shield the aura from negativity; to enhance prosperity; to aid in relieving stomach discomfort; to overcome major life obstacles; to reduce arthritis pain; and to bring wealth and prosperity to the user.

GARNET, GROSSULAR PINK: (Also known as Pink Grossularite) Use at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra) or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to open chakras that have been shut down while keeping them protected; to shield the aura from negativity by transmuting negative energy into loving energy; to balance the emotions; to reduce pain and inflammation; and to enhance feelings of compassion and empathy.

GARNET, HESSIONITE: (Also known as Cinnamon Stone or as Peach Garnet) Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra) to balance the emotional body, to increase the positive and to balance the negative aspects of one’s astrological sign, to bring out one’s masculine energies, and to aid one in connecting with his or her inner self.

GARNET, PYROPE RED: Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to stimulate vitality, to treat sluggish digestion and to increase one’s digestive fire, to increase motivation, to instill self-confidence, to promote spiritual ascension, and to manifest prosperity and abundance.

GARNET, RHODOLITE RED VIOLET: Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 7th Chakra (Crown Chakra) to cleanse and purify the blood, to enhance prosperity and abundance, to stimulate vitality and enhance one’s life force energy, to bring clarity of mind, to encourage spiritual exploration, to enhance meditation, and to bring one’s spiritual consciousness into the physical realm.

GARNET, SPESSARTINE: (Also known as Spessartite or as Garnet, Orange) Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 2nd Chakra (Sacral Chakra/Spleenic Chakra) to stimulate vitality, to enhance sexual energy and desire, to help stimulate proper circulation, to aid in animal communication, and to connect with totem animals.

GARNET, UVAROVITE: (Also known as Garnet, Green) Use at the 1st Chakra (Root Chakra/Base Chakra) or at the 4th Chakra (Heart Chakra) to connect one with nature (the elements, nature spirits, and Mother Earth herself), to instill a sense of compassion for all beings, for earth healing, to re-open the heart chakra after hurt or heartbreak, and to shield one’s aura from negativity.