Garnet is my birthstone. You must be a January baby! Yes, garnet is the birthstone for the first month of the year. Its brilliant color and unique energy are a good match for the vibrant souls born at this time of year.
How did garnet get its name? Garnet takes its name from the latin word "granatum", meaning seed, as it was thought to resemble the bright red seeds of the pomegranate. There is a Greek myth that tells the story of Hades abducting Persephone, daughter of the Goddess Demeter. Before he released her, he offered her a pomegranate. Thinking no harm, she accepted the gift, and ate a few of the seeds. But, otherworldly gifts often come with strings attached, and this was no exception. Persephone was thereby bound to Hades, and unable to leave his subterranean kingdom. Her mother, the goddess of the harvest, grieved so that the crops failed and famine threatened the land. In the end, a compromise was reached, that Persephone would spend half the year with Hades, and then re-emerge each spring to the delight of her mother, who again caused the crops to thrive. Pomegranate seeds, and by extension, garnets, thus became a symbol of reunion after separation, and bonds of love which cannot be broken.
Those aren't rubies? Nope. Garnets and rubies are entirely different gemstones. Ruby is a variety of corundum, while garnets are a type of silicate mineral. Both stones are known for their brilliant red color, but ruby tends toward pinker shades, while garnet is usually a deeper, more vivid red.