January Birthstone – Fiery Red Garnet

january birthstone

Garnet January Birthstone

People born in January are lucky to start the New Year with such a colourful birthstone as Garnet. The January birthstone suggests eternal friendship and trust and is the perfect gift for a friend. Garnet is one of the most varied gemstones. It has been mined for thousands of years and yet some of its varieties were discovered only in the last decade. Garnet is colourful, durable and widely available, making it an excellent gemstone choice for nearly every taste.

What is Garnet?

Garnet is quite a complex gemstone. Garnet is a mineral group that includes many related mineral species. There is no single Garnet species but rather several distinct species. It consists of a group of six closely related minerals: almandine, pyrope, grossular, spessartite, andradite and uvarovite. Many Garnet varieties contain a mixture of these minerals. It is never found in its pure state. Garnet varieties share common properties at the molecular level despite considerable variations. The chemical complexity of the January birthstone reflects in its variety of colours. There are more than twenty garnet species, but only five are commercially important as gemstones.

Irish Handmade Jewellery
Garnet Gold Filled Necklace

Origin of Name Garnet

The word “garnet” comes from the Latin word “granatus” for seed or grain, most likely a reference to the seeds of the pomegranate fruit. Some types of Garnet do resemble pomegranate seeds in colour, size and shape.

Colours of January Birthstone

Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colours. Red is the most traditional colour, however, the spectrum of January birthstone colours is stunning. Red Garnet is known as a cost-effective alternative to buying rubies as it is more abundant and affordable. Some of the most highly valued varieties are orange or green with tsavorite and demantoid as two of the rarest and most expensive varieties. Here are listed colours of just the main six species.

·         Almandine is red or brown

·         Pyrope is red to purple

·         Spessartite is orange to red to brown

·         Andradite is green, yellow or black

·         Grossular is green, yellow, red, pink or clear

·         Uvarovite is green

Birthstones by the month
Garnet Gold Vermeil Earrings

 Hardness of Garnet

The different varieties of Garnet range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. January birthstone is durable for use in jewellery, however proper care when while wearing and storing it should be taken.

Deposits of Garnet

Garnet is found in almost every corner of the Earth. Deposits are found in Brazil, India, South Africa, Sri Lanka, China and Madagascar. Closer to us, the Czech Republic is known for its Bohemian Garnet which is also the country’s national gemstone. Red Garnet remains the most abundant and well-known type of this gemstone. However, special colour variations are region-specific. The oranges and browns of spessartite and hessonite come from Namibia and Sri Lanka. The vibrant lime-green demantoid was discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains. Tsavorite is a grass-green grossular garnet mined in East Africa. 

History of January Birthstone

Evidence of Garnet jewellery is dating back to the Bronze Age in the Czech Republic. Egyptians used Garnet as inlays in their jewellery and carvings. Garnets were treasured in the 3rd and 4th centuries in Greece and continued in popularity during Roman times. Signet rings with carved Garnets were used to stamp the wax that secured documents. Across the Atlantic, Pre-Columbian Aztecs and Native Americans also used the January birthstone in their ornaments. This gemstone was used as a talisman for protection by warriors going into battles. Garnet’s availability increased with the discovery of the famous Bohemian garnet deposits in central Europe around the 1500s. It was frequently set into medieval rings and ornaments and by the late 16th and 17th centuries, it was highly popular throughout Europe for every type of jewellery. Garnet maintained its popularity through Victorian times but fell out of fashion after the 1800s. Today, Garnet is still a very popular gemstone and birthstone. Jewellery designers still find lots of creative ways of working with it and producing stunning January birthstone jewellery.

January birthstone
Garnet & Rose Quartz Necklace

Meaning of January Birthstone

As the January birthstone, Garnet is said to bring love, luck, health, loyalty and friendship to people who are born in that month. Garnet’s colour and inner fire have been symbolically associated with life force and victory.

The belief that Garnet has the power to shield its wearers from harm has been widespread since ancient times. Saxon and Celtic kings favoured garnet inlaid jewellery because of this supposed protection. Native American healers similarly believed that garnets had protective powers against injury and poison. During the Crusades, Christian and Muslim warriors both wore garnets for protection. Royalty often wore Garnet for that reason. Mary Queen of Scots and Queen Victoria wore Garnet as adornments on their garments.

Benefits of January Birthstone

Garnet with its gorgeous, deep shades of red is a powerful energising and regenerative stone. It balances, strengthens and protects. Emotionally it provides a protective and calming influence and is thought to heal melancholy and depression. Wear Garnet to give your whole system a boost, revitalise your body and promote your emotional well-being by increasing your confidence.

January Birthstone
Garnet Sterling Silver Earrings

Caring for Garnet Jewellery

Garnet is relatively hard and can be resistant to light and is the most common cleaning solution. However, avoid exposing it to extreme heat and chemicals. Clean your Garnet jewellery with warm water, detergent and a soft brush. ⁠Store your January birthstone carefully separate from other gemstones. It can be scratched when rubbed against harder gemstones like diamonds, rubies or sapphires. On the other hand, it can scratch softer gemstones like opals and pearls.  

How to Wear Garnet Jewellery

The rich colour of Garnet gives it a regal appeal and complements almost every complexion. A well-chosen Garnet jewellery piece can dress up any outfit, be it for a casual or formal occasion. The January birthstone makes a fantastic addition to your jewellery collection and gives that perfect pop of colour when needed. Deep red Garnet worn with a white or black outfit makes a great contrast giving you a refined look. Garnet looks stunning with shades of orange and pink, especially the darker shades of pink.

Yellow gold brings out the orange and brown tones of red Garnet and creates a regal look while sterling silver makes the colour of the gemstone stand out in contrast.

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References:

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