Garnet was one of the stones thought to be given by God to King Solomon. According to Greek and Roman mythology, Hades gave pomegranate seeds to Persephone to keep her in the underworld with him. Hades fell in love with the beautiful daughter of Demeter and Zeus, Persephone. He kidnapped the girl and took her to the Underworld with him, to Demeter’s dispair. Demeter was so heartbroken by the loss of her daughter’s company that she put the world into a drought and made it impossible for crops to grow. Eventually Zeus intervened and said Persephone should be returned to her mother, but Hades had tricked the young girl into eating some pomegranate seeds (the food of the underworld), thus meaning she would have to stay. Zeus finally ruled that Persephone would spend half the year with her mother, and the other half with Hades as Queen of the Underworld. The Greeks and Romans believed that this myth was the explanation for the seasons- while Persephone was above ground with her mother, Demeter allowed for harvests and the growth of crops (spring), while when Persephone was with Hades, Demeter made the land barren and unfavourable for harvest (winter). It is believed that the garnet, in rich red-purple tones, is associated with the pomegranate fruit from myth.
To learn more about the types of stone used in ancient jewellery, please refer to our relevant article (http://antiquities.co.uk/blog/ancient-mythology/the-history-of-gemstones-in-ancient-jewellery/).