Significant deposits of garnet have been found in Europe, particularly in areas of the Czech Republic where it has been mined from the mountains of Bohemia for over 600 years.
Bohemian garnet became extremely fashionable during the Victorian era and was presented to important people as valuable gifts and jewellery, including Czar Nicholas in 1833, the Crown Prince Rudolph Habsburg in 1871, and French actress Sarah Bernhard in 1888.
The gem’s sparkle and refractive qualities means this stone remains just as popular today. A garnet set composed of a necklace, bracelet, brooch and earrings containing 1,280 Bohemian garnets set in 18-carat gold, was presented to HM Queen Elizabeth II on the occasion of her visit to the Czech Republic in 1990. A silver cross featuring Bohemian garnet was presented to Pope John Paul II in 1993.
GARNET – FACTS AND FOLKLORE
- The name garnet stems from the Greek word for pomegranate, a fruit with clusters of fiery red seeds.
- Early travellers carried garnet as it was thought to be a talisman and a protective stone.
- According to legend, Noah used a garnet lantern to steer the ark at night.
- Since antiquity garnets have been inlaid to create stunning jewellery and decorative objects known as cloisonné.
- Science has revealed that garnet is a group of silicate minerals that share a common crystal structure but vary in their chemical composition.
- Garnet displays the greatest variety of colours of any mineral – including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, brown, black and pink.
- Blue garnet is said to be one of the rarest gem species in the mineral kingdom.
- Thanks to its fine abrasion qualities, industrial garnet is used for sanding in cabinetry and woodworking.
- The popular gemstone variety of deep red garnet is believed by some to symbolize passion, loyalty, success, energy, faith and truth.
- Garnet, the birthstone for January, is also said to signify eternal friendship and trust.