Gemstone History and Properties
The Garnets are a large and diverse mineral group with various chemical compositions which follow the formula X3Y2(SiO4)3. It is this difference in chemical composition, and not just the color like with most gemstone groups, that differentiate one type of garnet from another. For example, the chemical composition of the Hessonite Garnet is Ca3Al2(SiO4)3, while for Almandine, the most common type of Garnet, the composition is Fe3Al2(SiO4)3.
The Hessonite Garnet receives its name from the Greek hesson (inferior), which refers to its hardness being 7 on the Mohs scale instead of 7.5 like most other Garnets. It ranges in color from red to brown to orange or even yellow, and sometimes displays a water vapor like effect when looking inside. In antiquity the Hessonite was often confused with natural Zircon which sometimes has a very similar color, and both were often referred to as Hyacinths.
Legendary properties and historical uses
While relatively common in the east, the Hessonite became widely available in the west only in the middle ages and never gained much popularity aside from occasionally serving as a talisman for travelers and merchants. Due to its earthly tones it was considered a rather humble and restrained stone in comparison to the flashy Emeralds and Rubies, and was often overshadowed by the more popular Pyrope and Amber which had similar colors.
Historically Hessonites were most commonly used as a talisman for the road, as they were believed to provide protection from bandits and help fall asleep when away from one’s own bed. It was also believed that the owner of a Hessonite would always receive a warm welcome wherever he went. It is possible that these beliefs stem from its earthy tones, symbolically connecting it to the homeland.
The stone according to Hindu belief
In Hindu belief certain gemstones are connected to certain planetary deities, and these gemstones are able to transmit the energies associated with these deities to a person wearing them, allowing him to enjoy the benefits of those energies in the process.
According to Hindu belief, the Hessonite is a representation of the energy of the North Node, the antigod Rahu, on earth. The antigod Rahu, physically manifests as the solar eclipse, and is considered to be the outsider and rule-breaker of the Hindu pantheon and the god of foreigners, criminals and outcasts.
According to vedic astrology, a Hessonite is suitable for a person if Rahu is well positioned in his natal chart, and is especially recommend if its placement is weak as that is an indicator for mental problems, addictions and lack of self control. If Rahu’s position is harmful however, the use of Hessonites is considered dangerous and is highly discouraged.
Among the properties ascribed to a Hessonite when it suits a person, are the ability to significantly improve judgement and decision making, bring about financial gains and opportunities, and aid a person in achieving his goals. In addition, it is said that Hessonites can help with rare and infectious diseases, abnormalities and tumors. It is however said that it will never bring a sense of satisfaction.
If however, the Hessonite proves unsuitable it is said to cause health problems, weaken the immune system, and create various mental issues.
According to Hindu belief, if one wishes to gain the blessing of Rahu, he should wear an eye clean Hessonite that is set in jewelry made of one of the following metals: multiple metals alloy or silver. The jewelry has to be made in such a way that the stone will be in contact with the skin, hence earrings are unsuitable. If the stone is set in a ring, the ring must be worn on the middle finger of the right hand for right handed people or the left for left handed people and women.
Before wearing such a talisman for the first time, it must be washed in fresh milk and afterwards washed again in Ganges water (or any other holy water). The talisman must be worn for the first time on a Saturday falling close to the full moon, close to midnight.
Aside from the Hessonite, several secondary gemstones are also associated with Rahu: Natural Zircon, Smokey Quartz and Brown Opal.
Personal experience – Hessonite
After years of experience with gemstones both as a therapist and a patient, it became clear that every gemstone type has certain effects typical of this stone which can both assist in selecting the right gemstone and in identifying side effects due to unsuitable gemstone type or size.
In my experience the Hessonite has a stimulating yet cooling effect. Among the positive effects observed were improvements in confidence, drive and determination, lower blood pressure, improved function of the immune system, and a notable improvement in concentration and productivity.
In cases of incompatibility and excess, the side effects observed included increased aggression, severe weakness, dizziness and nausea, low blood pressure, fear, anxiety and loss of appetite.
Please note that the more profound effects mentioned were only observed after prolonged use of the stone.