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I have spent the last couple years searching in my favorite online antique and vintage jewelry shops for the perfect love ring.
I do have diamond wedding and engagement rings that my mom and I both used as a wedding set. A couple of years ago, I lost one of the small diamonds from the wedding ring and anxiety set in that I would also lose the larger center diamond. The idea of losing the diamond that my dad proposed to my mom with, and Nick proposed to me with, was terrible. So I got it into my head that I needed an everyday ring to wear that didn’t come with the pressure of an heirloom.
(I have a daughter now, and I hope that someday she will inherit my mom’s ring…)
Long before I started researching the meaning behind various stones, garnets were some of my faves.
The jewelry industry is responsible for assigning modern birthstones in order to sell more jewelry and the 1930s they created an extensive campaign to market expensive diamond rings to a society suffering from the Great Depression. Unlike other stones whose popularity depends on modern advertising campaigns, the meaning attached to garnets is ancient.
(Not to dis diamonds…don’t get me wrong, I love some diamond sparkle in my life!)
The word “garnet” comes from the Latin “
garanatus,” meaning “seedlike.” Its resemblance to the seed of the pomegranate is responsible for its Latin name. Garnets can look quite juicy and seedlike, depending on the cut.
The meaning behind the garnet dates back to Greek mythology. According to myth, after Hades kidnapped Persephone, Zeus forced him to allow her to leave the Underworld and return to her mother. Before she left him, Hades gifted his gal a pomegranate, hoping that its sweetness would bring her back to him. Thus, every year Persephone returns to Hades, causing winter in the world above.
Because of Hades’s romantic success, garnets are a gift symbolic of eternal love. Taking cues from the Ancient Greeks, lovers in the Victorian Era gave garnets as gifts of love and passion.
Despite the stone’s association with a red seed, garnets do come in a wide variety of colors. The bright green of rare demantoid garnets is incredible.
If you have ever browsed antique Victorian engagement and sentimental rings, you’ll see that the stone was a hugely popular gift during the era. You might also notice that many of the stones have become worn over the last 150 years. Garnets are only a 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale, a rating that measures a gemstone’s resistance to scratching. Diamonds are at the top of the scale at 10. By today’s standards for an everyday wear ring, 6.5 is pretty low.
I’ve seen several ladies around the internet showing off their garnet engagement rings and they seem to be keeping them nice and shiny and bright. If you tend to be hard on rings, you might want to save this meaningful stone for a necklace or a ring that you won’t be too hard on.
(I was THISclose to choosing a garnet for my love ring.
Did you choose or receive an unusual gemstone for an engagement or wedding ring? Leave me a comment below – I want to hear all about it!
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