January Birthstone: Jazzy and Picturesque World of Fiery Garnets!!
“The garnet is a red gem, but not like the ruby, its red is much more like that of a flame. If correctly cut and polished, it will reveal all its beauty and perfection,” Aristotle.
Grecian philosophers were not the only ones seduced by the fire of garnet gemstones. Ancient Egyptians, Romans, and Chinese were highly attracted to it. Many myths use it as a symbol, from illuminating Noah's ark to representing the blood of Christ.
Consider the bright red seeds of pomegranate as a visual snapshot of garnet gemstones. There are exciting legends and lore surrounding the meaning of January's birthstone.
Explore all the details about this deep red gemstone, regardless of whether you were born in January.
Garnets through the Years: History & Origin
According to legend, the name "garnet" actually derives from a Greek love story. Hades, the God of the Underworld gave pomegranate seeds – ‘garantus’ – to Persephone, the Goddess of Sunshine before she returned to Earth, signifying an emotional bridge between separated lovers.
Garnet was believed to protect travelers in ancient Rome. The presence of a sparkling garnet alerted travelers to danger. In ancient Chinese culture, red gems were thought to represent tigers' souls that were turned into precious gems after death.
The garnet gemstone can be found in multiple hues, from raspberry pink to orange and from green to yellow. On the 'over the counter' brown-to-red spectrum, Pyrope, Almandine, and Malenite are the most desirable varieties. Those with a green hue, like Tsavorite from Africa, or Demantoid and Uvarovite from Russia, are the most valuable garnets.
If you're interested in chasing truly unique garnet gemstones, you might want to book tickets to Madagascar, where a small number of rocks from the Bekily mine change color, a phenomenon more closely associated with the alexandrite gemstone found on the same continent. Greenish-yellow in daylight, this mesmerizing garnet glows a fiery pink under incandescent light.
The production of garnets is somewhat more challenging, as these stones can either be refined into gems or used as abrasives. The world's largest garnet mine, Barnet Mines in New York, crushes garnets to make abrasives for manufacturing instead of producing garnets. South Asia and East Africa are the primary sources of garnet gemstones jewelry.
Various regions and countries are known for garnets. During Victorian times, red pyrope garnets were mainly found in Bohemia. Russian royalty coveted green demantoid garnets from the Ural Mountains during the 19th century, and the great jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé (1846-1920) used these stones. Currently, most of the world's garnet comes from the African continent.
Demantoids have begun to be produced in Namibia, and vibrant green tsavorites are sourced from Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Besides Namibia and Tanzania, other sources of spessartine garnets include Nigeria and Tanzania.
The birthstone for January is found throughout the world, but Southern California's Little Three mining area has a long history of producing it. Other countries that produce it are Myanmar, Brazil, and Iran.
Exceptional Properties of Sparkling Garnet
The most common color hues for red garnet are red-orange, red-brown, or red-purple. Gemmologists refer to it as "fire" because it has such a strong and captivating sparkle.
Look at your garnet in soft lighting if you want to see its best sparkle. A candlelight setting brings out to the maximum the exquisite play of light in garnets.
According to the Mohs scale, garnet ranks between 6.5 - 7.5 on the hardness scale (which ranges from 1 to 10). This makes it an average hard material. Keep garnet jewelry separate from stronger gems such as diamonds so that it won't be scratched by knocking or catching it.
The mineral garnet is the name given to a group of minerals with close similarities. All groups share the same crystal structure but have different colors owing to added elements. Gem grade garnet comes in five varieties such as pyrope, almandite, spessartite, grossularite and andradite. A total of over 20 types of garnet are available, including gem-grade varieties.
Mystical Properties of Garnet Gemstone
There is a common belief that garnets cleanse and balance energy, which is evident across cultures. The spiritual stone is regarded by many as being helpful for healing, as well as for self-empowerment. Indigenous Americans regarded it as being capable of protecting against injury and poison.
Known for their deep red color, garnets are often associated with blood, the heart, and inner fire/life force. They are also considered a symbol of love. Moreover, garnet can be a symbol of a safe return when given to a friend.
Apart from these beliefs, a lot of people believe that this stone inspires courage when they are facing homelessness. It is also said to empower people by opening their hearts and removing inhibitions laid upon them by others or letting go of old behavioral patterns that no longer serve them. To put it another way, there are many benefits to owning a garnet.
Garnet, the January birthstone, is believed to bring people who were born in this month love, luck, health, loyalty, and friendship. In addition, it is traditional for married couples to gift it on their second and 18th wedding anniversaries.
Taking care of Garnet jewelry
Garnets, since not the sturdiest gemstone, can be damaged if not handled carefully when cleaning and handling them. Heat can cause garnets to lose their color, so it's best to avoid extreme heat around them. If you want to give your garnets a quick once-over, all you need is warm water and a microfiber cloth.
When storing garnets with other gemstones, keep an eye on them, as too much contact can leave scratches and streaks. When you see them fade or scratch, let a professional handle it.
Where to Buy Garnet Birthstone Jewelry?
No matter when you were born, garnets can enhance any jewelry wardrobe due to their versatile nature and easy availability of neutral, earthy colors. You can never go wrong with a simple garnet pendant or ring set with faceted cuts. In your party ensembles, garnets also steal the show.
Set your January birthstone necklaces with cabochons or tumbled garnet beads to set you apart from the dripping emeralds and diamonds. The garnet ring would be a wonderful addition to the spiritual journeys of anyone born in January, whether they are ambitious Capricorns or futuristic Aquarians.
Garnets are very popular among jewelry designers because of their beautiful red color. For an eye-catching look, pair a garnet item with matching items or contrast it with other colors. You can choose the piece that goes best with what you're wearing from YoTreasure's garnet collection, which includes earrings, rings, and necklaces. It can go with anything when worn with confidence, and that is what makes a garnet so special.
Yo Treasure is the perfect destination to shop for deep red garnet jewelry for January babes!!