Garnet in Ancient Lore and Legend

Garnets were employed as inlaid stones in Celtic and Anglo-Saxon jewelry. Garnets the color of fire were also called Carbuncles (from fire-coals), and the Hebrew name for the carbuncle was Bareketh (flashing stone) or Barak (lightning). It was a stone in the breastplate of the High Priest. Eastern legends assert that a carbuncle was suspended by Noah, in the Ark, to diffuse light. The Greeks called the carbuncle the Lamp Stone and it was said, if hung around the neck, to give the power of seeing in the dark. 

Greek mythology speaks of Garnet as a stone that can, through divine influence, heal emotional rifts between lovers.

A Warrior’s Stone, Garnet served as a talisman in the Crusades for both the Christians and their Muslim enemies. The Merovingians brought garnets from faraway Ceylon (Sri Lanka) through the Silk Road, combining it with amber from the Baltic to create magnificent jewels. Since these two stones balanced each other, one warm, one cold, some see the source of the Frankish civilization in this combination, the amber tempering the warrior-like fieriness of the Germanic people.

Low libido and sexual disorders were credited to be relieved by the application of Garnet directly to the genital organs. Princess Palatine discovered her husband, the brother of King Louis XIV, applying garnets on his body in this way. Though he asked her not to reveal this to anyone, she instead told the whole court and wrote about it in her many famous letters. 

Garnet is a conqueror’s stone. Legend has it that a garnet ornamented Don Juan’s ring. 

The well-formed image of a lion, if engraved on a garnet, will cure the wearer of all diseases, protect and preserve his honor and health, and guard him from all perils in traveling.

Some Asiatic tribes used red garnets as bullets for sling bows because they pierced their victims quickly and were well hidden when they mingled with the blood. At other times they were placed in wounds to encourage clotting of the blood. The tribes continued to use them later as bullets in firearms, assuming the blood-colored stone would inflict a more deadly wound than a leaden bullet. Such were used by the rebellious Hanzas, in 1892, during their hostilities with the British troops on the Kashmir frontier, and many of these precious missiles were preserved as curiosities.