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January Birthstone - Garnet

January’s stone is garnet. This stone is known for its generally red hue, but its colors can occur in any shade except blue. Any color garnet is appropriate to wear commemorating a January birthday. Garnets are also commonly given as gifts for 2nd and 6th wedding anniversaries.

Garnets range from a 7.0-7.5 on a Moh’s scale of hardness, making them a fine choice for high quality jewelry.

Victorian gold filled garnet earrings.
Victorian gold filled garnet earrings.

THE SIGNIFICANT ROLE OF GARNET THROUGHOUT HISTORY

The word “garnet” originally comes from the Latin root “granatum”, meaning “pomegranate”.

The garnet historically signifies faith, friendship, loyalty and truthfulness. Garnets were often given to parting friends throughout history as a sign of commitment to see each other again one day. Evidence of garnet jewelry has been discovered dating all the way back to the Bronze Age (3000 BC) in burial sites. This evidence indicates that the stone may have served the purpose of protecting the departed in the afterlife.

During the Middle Ages, many cultures believed that these red stones were also protective in that they could stop bleeding, as well as preventing/curing blood disorders, infections, and inflammation. These stones have also been said to have the ability to aid in the curing of depression.

Garnet stud earrings.
Garnet stud earrings.

Different types of garnets

  • Alamandine – Alamandine Garnets, the most common of all garnets, typically produce a deep, dark red color. These stones can appear deep red, purplish red, or orange red. The most valuable Alamandine Garnets are rich red in color, without traces of brown or orange. These stones are commonly found in Brazil, India, Madagascar, and the U.S. In the U.S., these stones can be found in Arkansas, Arizona, Idaho, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Utah.
  • Color Changing Garnets - Color Changing Garnets have been surging in popularity in recent years due to its rarity and uniqueness. While it is commonly said that Garnets can come in any color except blue, some Color Changing Garnets turn blue when introduced to natural light. This color change can be as intense as top quality Alexandrite. Many of the most valuable Color Changing Garnets come from Bekily in Southern Madagascar.
  • Demantoid - Demantoid Garnets are usually green to yellowish green in color. These are some of the more rare garnets, and are highly collected around the world. They were given the name “Demantoid” because they sparkle like diamonds. These stones can be found in Italy, Korea, Russia, and Zaire.
  • Garet bracelets.
    Garnet bracelets.
  • Hessonite - Hessonite Garnets range in color from yellow, to yellowish green, to orange, to orangish brown.
  • Pyrope - Pyrope Garnets generally range from an intense, dark red, to a slightly purplish red. Pyrope Garnets are found in Australia, Czechoslovakia, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe. Some highly saturated dark red Alamandine/Pyrope Garnets are found in the U.S.
  • Rhodolite - Rhodolite Garnets range in color from pink, to red and reddish lavender. These stones are hybrids, generally half Almandine and half Pyrope, usually with sparse amounts of other varieties mixed in. Rhodolite Garnets can be found in Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe.
  • Spessartite - Spessartite Garnets are usually orange in color and can sometimes have a reddish tint. Spessartite Garnets are found commonly in Brazil, Germany, Namibia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and the U.S.
  • Tsavorite - Tsavorite Garnets are among the most rare and valuable garnets. They are a deep rich green, and can sometimes appear with a yellowish tint. Often times, Tsavorite Garnets are used instead of emeralds to accompany diamond jewelry because of their rich color and clarity. These deep green stones are found around the Tsavo National Park area in Kenya.
  • Uvarovite - Uvarovite Garnets are bright green stones that occur in fine crystal clusters. Uvarovite Garnets were first discovered in Russia, and were named for Russian Nobleman, Sergei Uvarov.
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