The Birthstone of January: Garnet
Calling all January babies! Whether you’re a Capricorn or an Aquarius, all those born in January share one birthstone. The birthstone of January is the Garnet, a gemstone most popular for its beautiful dark red color. January is one of the months that has only one birthstone for both its modern and traditional representations. Continue reading to learn more about the symbolism, history, and features about the Garnet gemstones!
Why does January have one birthstone?
January is associated to only one birthstone, Garnet, gaining its association throughout history. The months of the year differ in the amounts of birthstones that they’re associated to, each month only having either one or two birthstones, and others having up to three gemstones. In this case, January only having one.
There are different numbers of birthstones per month as there are the associated gemstones that are classified as either modern or traditional. The more common of the two types are modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s. Traditional birthstones are the gemstones that were more commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond.
Many of these traditional birthstones have become too rare and are not as available on the market in this day and age, and therefore some months have modern birthstones that differ from its traditional associations. Fortunately for January, the beautiful gemstone of Garnet remained both the traditional and modern birthstones.
Features of Garnets
The modern and traditional birthstone for the month of January is the Garnet. The name “garnet” is actually derived from the 14th century Middle English word “gernet,” which translates to “dark red.”
The origin of this word stems from the Latin word “granatum,” which translates to “seed,” and is referred to this term as the popular color that red garnets have resembles the red seeds of a pomegranate.
Garnet is actually the name for a type of mineral group that can come in many different kinds of colors from the rainbow. These minerals consist of pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, and andradite. The garnet gemstone also can change color in certain light; it can be blue in fluorescent light and become a deep red in incandescent light.
The type of garnet that has the ability to change colors in different lights is the most rare of all.
The most common color of garnet is what it’s most known for, which is its beautiful range of reds. Although there are over 20 different types of garnet species, the most popular ones are green Demantoid, orange Spessarite, red Pyrope, and pink Rhodolite Garnet.
Rhodolite Garnets are actually a mixture of the two types of garnet minerals: pyrope and almandine.
- The color of rhodolite garnets can range from a pinkish purple to reddish purple; the most popular color of rhodolite garnet is its grape purple color and raspberry pink color.
- Rhodolite garnets can possess an optical phenomenon in which the light within the gem reflects off its inclusions and create a narrow band of light, which is known as the star or cat’s-eye rhodolite. These inclusions can give off a 4-ray or 6-ray light orientation.
The History and Symbolism of Garnets
Throughout history, the main source of red garnet production was Bohemia during the Victorian times. However, the most prominent garnet producer today is the African continent. The garnet gemstone is also found in other places around the world such as Brazil, India, Myanmar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
The garnet gemstone was believed to have many properties and powers from many different cultures. Generally, the garnet is known to symbolize peace, health, and friendship; it is also believed to enhance karma.
- Garnet is believed to date all the way back to 3100 BC in Egypt.
- In Ancient Rome, garnet was actually used to stamp the wax on sealed documents.
- Since the Bronze Age, garnet gemstones are sometimes used as an abrasive; when garnet is mixed with water, it becomes so abrasive that it can cut through steel.
- In the Victorian Era, garnet was commonly used in engagement rings and mourning jewelry.
- People in ancient times also used to believe that garnet had healing powers that could cure heart and blood diseases.
- During the Middle Ages, clergy and nobility had a preference for red garnets as well.
With the garnet gemstone being associated with the 2nd wedding anniversary, this stone of peace, health, and friendship is a great gift for those celebrating their milestones as well as a January birthday!
Maintaining and Caring for Your Garnets
Garnets have a hardness of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Although most garnets are good for daily wear, they are actually more susceptible to damage than diamonds, rubies, and sapphires. With this in mind, they are great gemstones for earrings, brooches, and pendants, as rings, necklaces, and bracelets are more susceptible to normal wear.
To put the scale of hardness into perspective, quartz has a hardness of 7 – 7.5 and are present in the particles of dust seen floating in the air and settling on uncleaned objects in your home. These particles have the hardness that is able to remove the polish from your table and the finish from your car. Diamonds have a hardness of 10, which is the hardest gemstone, and the softest includes talc, which is a gemstone that even your fingernail can scratch. These minerals can only be scratched by the hardness level above it, so garnet jewelry owners should wear your garnets with caution.
Your precious gemstones still deserve care and maintenance to keep it looking as sparkly and pristine as possible.
Most garnet gemstones on the market are not treated. Garnets should be cleaned gently with mild soap in warm water with a soft cloth. Avoid bleach, chemical, and abrasive cleaners when touching up your jewelry at home, including lotion and sanitizer. It is best to avoid high heat and sudden temperature changes as these may caught internal cracks inside the gemstone. Avoiding heat or sunlight exposure also helps with preventing the gemstones to fade. It is also recommended to not clean your garnets with ultrasonic cleaners and steam machines.
To learn more about our professional gemstone services, such as a professional clean and polish, feel free to check out a Gemstone Services.
Replacing Your Missing Garnet
Thinking about restoring a loved one’s sentimental birthstone piece? You’re in the right place to restore their precious memories.
Gemstones provide life and brilliance to any piece of jewelry, yet have the highest potential to damage. Whether it be a loose, lost, or scratched-up Garnet, we take restoring the life of your treasures seriously. Any gem, any damage, we’ll make your jewelry sparkle as bright as the day you got it.
We have a team of specialists in place to properly source every type of gem needed for your treasured item. We understand your gemstones are unique and require specific attention. Our Professional Stone Sourcing team makes sure that all of your gems, even the ones that sometimes go unnoticed, are replaced by stones of the right caliber for your piece.
Visit our Gemstone Replacement Services page to learn more about restoring the brilliance of your Garnet.
“If you were born in January, your month’s birthstones are Garnets.
If you didn’t already know, there are some months that have multiple birthstones, whereas some only have one. Traditional birthstones are gemstones that were most commonly associated with its respective month in the early 20th century and even beyond, with Ancient Greek and Roman philosophers associating these gemstones with the star signs. Those that are more commonly known in this day and age are the modern birthstones, which were officially named by the Jewelers of America in the 1950’s.
If you would like to learn more about birthstones in general, visit our Ultimate Birthstone Guide!“
“A basic clean, polish, and inspection is part of the routine care and maintenance needed to keep your jewelry looking like new. The inspection process includes looking for loose stones, bent prongs, and any damage to the metal or stones that need to be repaired.”
“A stone setting repair can be a simple re-tipping of a worn prong (which is considered routine care and maintenance) or the complete rebuilding/replacing of a damaged prong. In the case of severe damage, the entire head of the ring may need to be replaced.
Regardless of whether or not the prongs are compromised due to normal wear and tear or a result of accidental damage, we can provide the routine care and maintenance in order to ensure you do not lose a stone in your setting.”
“The process of a Gemstone Replacement is simple enough, yet requires trained eyes to be able to make a flawless switch. We aim to leave no trace of our work, which means not only will your setting be perfected, but the gemstone we choose will complete your jewelry piece effortlessly.”
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