As in many ancient societies, jewellery was an important social marker used to demonstrate wealth. Following the spread of the Roman Empire, Roman jewellery became more and more elaborate in the designs and in the materials used, such as garnet. In Antiquity, garnet was very popular due to its deep colouration and for the meaning that was attributed to it. The word garnet originates from the Latin word granatus translating to seed or grain. In Ancient Greek and Roman mythology, Hades gave pomegranate seeds to his lover Persephone, as a token of safety, while she was leaving the underworld to join her mother Demeter in the human world. The semi-precious stone, recalling the colour and the shape of the pomegranate seed, became a typical gift exchanged between separated lovers.
To discover more about gemstones in Antiquity, please visit our relevant blog post: The History and Mythology of Jewellery in Antiquity.