(Clean, but rough cut, garnets)
Another stone that ranks high on my favorites list is the garnet. Shimmering drops that resemble the blood red seeds of the pomegranate. I have always seen them as the poor man's ruby. My birthstone is the ruby (July), but I prefer the deeper red of the garnet (January). Garnets are a much more affordable replacement to the Ruby, which definitely made a difference when I dabbled in jewelry making.
(Little Pine garnet mine in North Carolina)
Garnets can be found in countries all over the world...the US, Australia, south Africa, and Scotland, to name a few. Actually, garnets come in a variety of colors, not just red. They can be found in all of the colors of the rainbow. Well, I did encounter a bit of an argument surrounding the color blue. Some say that no garnets have been found in the shade of blue, and others say that they do exist (apparently, the first reported blue garnet find was in Madagascar in the early 1990's), but either way you look at it they are extremely rare.
(Old/antique example of garnet cloisonne jewelry)
Throughout history, the garnet has been a common ornamental gem, especially the red variety. A common method was to inlay them in gold using the cloisonne technique (the stones being separated by thin strips of metal.
These stones are also commonly used in sand form for industrial purposes. Garnet sand is used as media for sand blasting, and garnet 'sand' paper for use in the finishing of wood. Abundant sources of garnet sand are Australian and Indian beaches.
Metaphysically, one of the most important properties of the garnet is it's ability to purify. Their healing capacity is strong, and they remove toxins, and purify bodily energies. When one thinks of the garnet, I would say that just about everyone would think of the color red right off the bat. The garnet strengthens and heals relationships, which makes sense...red is the color most closely associated with love. It can elevate a relationship to a higher level, and bring a calm and secure clarity to a bond. The garnet also relates to desire of all kinds. It can instill strength necessary to make decisions and move forward with life. It can also promote creativity.
(Some of the different colors that garnets are available in)
From a health perspective, Garnets can help in both physical and mental ways. They promote good health. It has been long believed that red garnets have a deep effect on the blood, curing diseases of the blood and heart.
(Left: Root Chakra...Right: Heart Chakra)
In terms of the Chakras, The Root and Heart Chakras are linked to the garnet. The Root Chakra resonates to the color red, and it symbolizes strength and life. It is the foundation linking us to the physical world (it sits at the bottom of the spine). The red of the garnet resonates with the red of the Chakra. As for the Heart Chakra, the garnet aids in aligning the spiritual and the emotional. Located at the center of the chest, the Heart Chakra deals with the emotional...love, forgiveness, compassion, etc. Another key way the garnet acts with this Chakra is that the Heart Chakra deals with blood, the circulatory system, and the heart.
To "cleanse" garnets, run them under water for a few minutes to remove negativity. Then place them on top of several quartz crystals to re-energize.