Warm up with the fiery red garnet, January’s birthstone

The cold winds of winter are warmed up by the deep, rich red of January’s birthstone, the garnet. This stone, which has been used for millennia, was a favorite of the ancient Egyptians, who believed it was a symbol of life. In fact, pharaohs have been found buried with brilliant garnet necklaces.

There are over 20 varieties of garnet. Red garnet (Almandine and Pyrope) is the most familiar, but it can also be vibrant green (called Tsavorite), blue, or even colorless. This affordable stone can be faceted to create a wide variety of jewelry, including necklaces, rings, bracelets, and earrings.

The garnet traditionally has been seen to symbolize happiness, health, and wealth—what more can you ask from a single gemstone?

Garnet facts

  • Unlike other gemstones, garnets are very rarely heat-treated or enhanced…their color is genuine.
  • Their name comes from the Latin for “seed,” since it resembled the deep red seeds of the pomegranate.
  • Garnets have also thought to promote successful business, encourage compassion, and aid self-confidence.

How to purchase garnet jewelry

The American Gem Society has tips for purchasing a garnet:

  • See how the stone reacts under both natural and synthetic light—make sure it has an “ an intense, saturated color.”
  • Don’t be surprised if you are shown a green, blue, or pink garnet. But these tones are rarer, so you’ll pay more for an unusual color.
  • Some garnets have inclusions; these can add to the beauty of the stone, so if you’re drawn to this natural occurrence, don’t be put off by it.
  • Just like a diamond, color (deep and rich), clarity, and cut impact the value of the stone.

Taking care of your garnet jewelry

Garnets are from the corumdum family. At 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale they’re fairly durable, so they’re well suited for most types of jewelry. Of course, harsh use can damage even tough gems. According to the Gemological Institute of America, warm soapy water is always a safe bet to clean your garnet jewelry… steam cleaning is not recommended.

Whether you’re a January baby, or just love this luscious fiery red gemstone, garnets can bring drama and elegance to any outfit. If you have heirloom garnet, diamond, sapphire, emerald, or gold jewelry, make sure you’ve got an up-to-date appraisal. Contact me (617-304-0174) and we can get started right away.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

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