What on Earth is Spessartine Garnet?
Typically occurring in orange to reddish-brown, spessartine garnet is a rare gem that blends with other species of the garnet stone, such as Malaya and Mandarin garnets. Its colors may vary from black, gray, yellow, yellowish-brown, pink, red, dark red, brown, and orange, while some can be multicolored. Spessartine garnet can be found in the USA, Brazil, China, Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, Kenya, Tanzania, Mozambique, Namibia, Afghanistan, and Israel.
The Physical Properties of Spessartine Garnet
All species or varieties of garnet have similar crystal forms and physical properties, but they differ in their chemical composition. They are commonly found in the trapezohedron and dodecahedral crystal variety. Spessarite garnet is manganese aluminum silicate, and in other species, manganese is often replaced by iron or magnesium. Spessartine garnet is found in granite pegmatites and alluvial deposits as well-formed, isolated crystals. The red, orange, brown hues of the stone are due to the presence of iron. On the hardness scale, spessartine has a value of 6.5-7.5, has no cleavage, is transparent to translucent, and has a vitreous to greasy luster.
The History of Spessartine Garnet
The word garnet is derived from the word gernet (Middle English for ‘dark red’), which is derived from the Latin word granatum (grain, seed). The name relates to the old Bavarian word for ‘forest’ because the stones were first found in the forested mountainous region of Spessart in Germany. Former Czechoslovakia was once a tremendous source of the mineral and cutting, polishing, and mounting them used to be a large industry in the country. Garnets were used to decorate the interior of many Bohemian churches and castles.
The Lore of Spessartine Garnet
Anglo-Saxons and Celts employed garnets in their jewelry. Garnets were also called carbuncles (from fire-coals), and the Hebrew name for the stone was Barak (lighting) or Bareketh (flashing stone). According to Eastern legends, a carbuncle stone was used by Noah to diffuse light. The Greeks called it the lamp stone, and it was believed to give the power of seeing in the dark (if hung around the neck). According to Greek mythology, the mineral could heal emotional rifts between lovers through divine influence.
In the Crusades, garnet served as a talisman for both Christians and Muslims. The Merovingians brought it from Sri Lanka via the Silk Road to create beautiful jewels. The legend also says that Don Juan wore garnet on his ring. Some Asiatic tribes used it for sling bows because its red color resembled blood.
The Metaphysical Properties of Spessartine Garnet
Spessartine is healing to the digestive and reproductive systems, prevents nightmares, has antidepressant properties, and improves food intolerances. It is also known to assist in the healing of bacterial stomach infections, relieve muscle pain, and help with a range of allergy problems or other issues that affect the lungs (such as emphysema, bronchitis, and asthma).
The mineral is used to alleviate fears, activate the analytical processes of one’s mind, and provide confidence for pursuing a change in life. It is associated with the Solar Plexus and Sacral chakras, lending power to one’s will and awakening latent creative energies. Spessartine is also quite effective in assimilating higher levels of one’s inner balance and growth.
If you want to achieve greater clarity and galvanize your thinking, use spessartine in combination with crystals like larimar, azurite, vivianite, celestite, powellite, and blue lace agate.
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