Whether you’re a visionary Aquarius or an ambitious Capricorn – or if you’re shopping for one – you might be wondering what is January’s birthstone? If that’s the case, let us introduce you to the stunning garnet gem, a gorgeous deep red stone with ancient roots.
In this blog, we’ll explore the origins, strength and durability, and how to wear this fabulous crimson stone.
Garnet Meaning and History
Famous for its dramatic red color, the name “garnet” originates from the Latin word granatus, which translates to “pomegranate.” The stunning January birthstone dates back to the time of Ancient Egypt when famous Egyptian pharaohs adorned themselves in garnet gemstone rings, jewelry, and accessories. The red color crystal also played an important role in the Bronze Age, Middle Ages, and ancient Rome.
As far as famous garnet pieces go, the Smithsonian museum is home to the stunning pyrope hair comb which originated from the Czech Republic. The hair comb was donated to the museum in 1937 and features a massive red garnet crystal at its center surrounded by a series of decorative pyrope garnets. The gems featured in this stunning piece came from the historic mines of Bohemia and hail from the Victorian era when gorgeous garnet was especially popular.
Today, January’s birthstone is said to tout several impressive health benefits. For example, some believe that the gem helps to deter negative emotions like depression and guilt, resulting in higher self-confidence for those who wear it. What’s more, garnet is also said to enhance one’s mental clarity, in turn inspiring creative thinking and greater peace of mind.
Where Is Garnet Found?
While red is the most common hue, garnet comes in a variety of colors including vibrant green, deep blue, colorless, and even color-shifting. This fabulous gem can be found around the world, however, the largest modern supply of garnet comes from Africa. This is as opposed to garnet mined during the Victorian era and the early 19th century, which hailed from Bohemia and Russia’s Ural Mountains.
Namibia is a large producer of bright green demantoid garnet, whereas Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar are big exporters of green garnet which is sometimes also referred to as “tsavorite.” Namibia and Tanzania are also home to the captivating orangeish-yellow spessartine garnet.
The garnet birthstone can also be found in parts of the U.S., Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.
How to Care for Garnet
A relatively soft gem, January’s birthstone garnet ranks between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, a ranking system used to compare the strength of a gemstone to that of a diamond. This means that garnet engagement rings and garnet jewelry are more susceptible to damage than custom jewlery pieces set with stronger gemstones like diamond, sapphire, and ruby.
It’s important to be extra mindful when wearing a piece set with garnet stones. Remove your January birthstone jewelry before partaking in any strenuous activities such as working out or cleaning around the house. Garnet’s low ranking on the Mohs scale also means that this gem is not always suitable for everyday wear. If you have your heart set on a garnet stone, consider a trendy pendant or a pair of earrings vs. a ring that could get easily damaged throughout the day.
As for storage, be sure to keep garnet away from harder gemstones as they can easily scratch this gorgeous crystal. What’s more, garnet can damage even softer stones like opals and pearls, so watch out for that, too.
How to Care for Garnet
If pomegranate seed-like garnet has caught your eye, you might be wondering how to wear this fabulous January birthstone. Luckily, no matter your style, there are several ways to rock this dazzling gem.
For a glamorous look pair a dramatic garnet pendant with a matching pair of birthstone earrings. Alternatively, flaunt some garnet studs for a subtle yet gorgeous look that easily transitions from day to night. If you prefer some arm candy, opt for a bracelet featuring garnet crystals. Or customize your look with a charm bracelet where you can include a zodiac charm with your birthstone of choice.
As mentioned above, garnet is a softer gemstone meaning that it won’t always be ideal for engagement rings or wedding rings. If you do decide to wear your garnet gemstone as wedding jewelry be aware that it could be prone to chipping or scratching with extended wear.