In anticipation of my daughter's birth and knowing that the garnet would be her birthstone, I found a deep and teasing blood red garnet ring at an antique store. Photographs of me holding my newborn show the ring as bright as my shining eyes. It became my daughter's, as originally planned, on her eighteenth birthday. I wore it only on loan and in the hopes that I would infuse it with eighteen years of my precious love. When I dropped it in her palm, no words were needed.
Garnets continued to enchant me and a few years ago, after a time of illness, I found a beautiful pair of gold and garnet earrings. They were not the lovely Mrs. Forrester's fleur-de-lys earrings, but they did have wee garnets and seed-pearls and they dangled becomingly. I asked the owner of the jewel box of a shop if she would hold them for me on deposit. I would return for them after I received my first back-to-work paycheck. I kept my promise and two weeks later, on Valentine's Day, they became a present to myself, and remain a talisman for continued well-being.
Hearts may be the most universally loved motif for Valentine's Day, but I think garnets are a better emblem, to sparkle against a cheek during a candlelit dinner à deux, as a gift of hope to oneself, and to speak the words the heart cannot say.