Mandarin garnet is also called spessartite, from the city Spessart in Bavaria where it had originally been found.
It was virtually unknown in big sizes until the beginning of the nineties when an important source was discovered in Namibia.
Garnet was known thousands of years before our era, and is mentioned in early biblical writings, where it was called «carbuncle», meaning «little spark» although it should be noted that in Pliny’time all glowing red gems were referred to by this name.
The name garnet comes from the Latin «granatus», meaning «seed like» and was held to symbolize faith, constancy and truth.
Garnet was also supposed to have strong curative powers. In powder, it was used as poultice to relieve fever.
As an amulet, garnet was favored among travelers for it was said to protect and preserve health and honor, cure the wearer of any disease and guard him from all the perils of a journey.
Garnets were also used in ancient Asia and the American Southwest as bullets, because it was said they increase the ferocity of a wound.
Garnet is the birthstone for January.