The name ‘garnet’ is derived from the Medieval English ‘gernet’, which is in turn taken from the Latin ‘granatus’ for ‘seed like’. This may be due to the gem’s resemblance to the deep-red seeds of the pomegranate fruit. An incredibly durable gem, use of garnets as decorative stones stretch as far back as 3000 BC, and were worn by mummified Pharaohs. The gem was also used extensively in Ancient Rome, adorning the engravings of emperors’ portraits. Garnet was the most popular gemstone used in the period in Europe that transitioned from Antiquity to the Middle Ages, appearing frequently in the craft wear of Germanic peoples, particularly the Anglo-Saxons.
The gem is featured heavily in the art and decoration of Bohemia (today’s Czechia), adorning countless churches and castles, and from the 1500s-1800s, the country boasted an impressive industry devoted to the gem. Later, in time, garnets became quite popular during the Victorian Era. The stone can be found literally all over the world, from China, Brazil, East Africa, and various other locales.