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Garnets in the Victorian Era: A Timeless Gemstone of Love and Elegance

The Victorian era, a period marked by its unique cultural and aesthetic movements, held a special place for one gemstone: the garnet. Renowned for its deep red hue and dazzling sparkle, the garnet became a symbol of the era's romanticism and opulence. This blog post explores the popularity of garnets in Victorian times, their symbolism, varieties, and the historical significance of Bohemian garnets.

 

Victorian Era: A Time of Romance and Symbolism

During the Victorian era (1837-1901), named after Queen Victoria, jewellery wasn't just an accessory; it was a means of expression. Garnets, with their rich red colour, were associated with love, passion, and heart's desire, making them popular in engagement rings and love tokens. Garnets are the birthstone of January. 

 

Garnets: Symbols of Protection and Power

Garnets were believed to have protective powers, thought to safeguard travellers and light up the night, symbolising guidance and safety. This symbolism made garnets a favoured choice in jewellery for both men and women.

 

Bohemian Garnets and Their Legacy

Bohemia, a region in the present-day Czech Republic, was renowned for its garnets, particularly during the 19th century. Bohemian garnets are known for their deep red colour and were highly prized in Victorian jewellery. The mines in Bohemia produced these garnets in abundance, leading to their widespread use and popularity during this era.

 

The Sparkle of Garnets

Garnets are known for their exceptional sparkle due to a high refractive index. In the candle-lit evenings of the Victorian era, garnet jewellery shimmered and gleamed, enhancing its allure.

 

Types of Garnets and Their Colours

Garnets come in a variety of types, each with unique colours:

  1. Pyrope: This type, including the Bohemian garnet, is known for its deep, vibrant red.
  2. Almandine: Commonly found, almandine garnets range from deep red to reddish-brown.
  3. Spessartine: These range from orange to reddish-brown.
  4. Grossular: This variety includes colors from green to yellow-green, sometimes even colourless.
  5. Andradite: Including the rare green demantoid, andradite garnets can also be yellowish-green, brown, or black.
  6. Uvarovite: Always green in colour, uvarovite garnets are less common in jewellery due to their small crystal sizes.

 

Garnets

 (Source: Image by Lina Jakaitie, strike-dip.com)

 

The Legacy of Garnets

The Victorian fascination with garnets set a precedent for generations. Today, garnets remain a popular choice for jewellery, appealing to those captivated by their rich history and beauty.

 

Garnets, with their deep hues and sparkling facets, captured the heart of the Victorian era. More than just a fashion statement, they symbolised love, protection, and the artistic spirit of the time. The legacy of garnets, especially the Bohemian variety, continues to enchant us, reminding us of a time when jewellery was a deeply personal and symbolic adornment.

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