All about garnets, January’s beautiful birthstone

As the winter world turns white and grey, the garnet birthstone lights up the new year. Your stone comes in a variety of colors and shapes, but all exhibit warmth and depth to illuminate short days before spring.

A rainbow of colors

You may think of garnets as a deep, rich red, but they can actually be found in one of the widest ranges of color of any gem. These include green (tsarvorite), orange (hessonite), purple-red (rhodolite), and reddish-orange (spessartite)—in fact, in all colors except blue! The hue of a particular stone comes from the stone’s chemical makeup, which can include minerals such as calcium, magnesium, iron, or manganese.

A spectrum of colors. Photographed from the GIA Collection for the CIBJO project.









A history of garnets

The name, garnet, is believed to come from “granatum,” the Latin for “seed,” most likely because it looks like a pomegranate seed. Garnet necklaces have been found in ancient Egyptian tombs, so the beauty of this stone has been recognized for thousands of years. Their popularity continued through the Middle Ages, where they were generally reserved for nobles and clergy.

Mystical meanings

Over the centuries, many stones have developed connections with various healing or mystical powers. In the case of garnets, they were believed to protect the wearer from misfortune, especially during travel. They’re also believed to carry the healing power of regeneration and energy, to help dreams come true, and to bring order to internal and external chaos. (Very useful for those new year resolutions about organizing closets and drawers!)
Garnet jewelry

Garnets are fairly durable, ranking with a 6.7-7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This makes them a great stone for rings, brooches, earrings, and other decorative pieces. According to the AGTA (the American Gem Trade Association), “garnets are most commonly found in round, oval, and cushion cuts. Availability depends on variety: tsavorite is very difficult to find in sizes above a carat or two, while rhodolite garnet is available in larger sizes.”

Happy birthday, January babies! Celebrate with joy and glorious garnet jewelry. And when you’re finished celebrating, mark the new year by making sure your beautiful jewels are protected with an up-to-date appraisal, so call me to set up an appointment.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee



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