Ancient beginnings

Ancient beginnings

Lacey Spaenhower, Staff Writer

Years ago a high priest named Aaron wore a breastplate that was adorned with twelve stones. Each of these stones represented a different tribe of Israel.

Every tribe was also given a zodiac that corresponded with the Egyptian calendar. The zodiacs were later converted into the Julian calendar that was created by Julius Caesar.

Throughout the years each stone was used for different things, like rubies were said to protect the wearer from harm. Sapphires were a sign that the wearer was devoted to the person he/she loved while he/she was away on a journey.

People have appreciated these gemstones and the properties that they hold for decades. This is how the original birthstones came into existence.

These are the twelve birthstones going in order; garnet, amethyst, aquamarine, diamond, emerald, pearl, ruby, peridot, sapphire, opal, topaz, and turquoise. Each stone goes with a different month of the year.

January’s birthstone is the garnet. At first glance this gem could be mistaken for a pomegranate seed due to its deep red color. The garnet actually got its name from the fact that it looks so much like a pome  granate seed.

Aside from the garnet’s great looks this gemstone has an interesting history and meaning behind it. This stone has been a sign for truthfulness, constancy, and loyalty; and it has been known to be a beacon to guide those who have lost their way. Also it was said to safe guard anyone who was away on a journey.

Many myths and legends have been tied to this gem. One legend dates back to the time of Noah’s Ark. Legend says that Noah put a huge garnet on his ark to light his way through the dark and gloomy storms that were encountered.

Another legend deals with the Greek myth of Persephone and Hades. Hades kidnapped Persephone and took her to the underworld to be his Queen.  When the time came to be rescued, Hades gave Persephone pomegranate seeds as a sign of devotion and love. By giving her the seeds, he ensured that she would return to him.

That is why the garnet has always been associated with eternal love and guiding someone to safety.  Anyone who was born in the month of January should be proud of this beautiful and powerful gem.

“By her who in this month was born

No gem save garnets shall be worn

They will ensure her constancy

True friendship and fidelity.”