Garnet - the birthstone for January
What is January’s birthstone?
Garnet is the beautiful deep red birthstone for January. Perfect for this time of year, the rich warm glow of a traditional red garnet really brightens up the grey January days.
The history of garnets
The name garnet comes from “granatus” which means pomegranate in Latin - a reference to that juicy red colour of the gemstone which looks like a pomegranate pip.
Garnet has been used in jewellery since the Bronze age and they have been found in pieces from ancient Egypt (the pharaohs wore necklaces studded with garnets) and ancient Rome (in signet rings used to stamp the wax seals of important documents amongst other things)
Garnets are hard too, so any garnet material which doesn’t make the grade to be cut into a gemstone is often used in abrasives.
Colour of January birthstone
Most garnets I use in my birthstone jewellery are the traditional red colour that you probably associate with the name garnet. I prefer this rich deep red colour (which could be because it reminds me of red wine, my favourite tipple), but I also use some stones with a pinkish red hue, and occasionally an orange red tone. Garnet is also found in yellow, purple and vibrant green but these are much less common and I must admit I haven’t come across any!
The rich red garnets I use most often come from India.
Characteristics of the January birthstone, garnet
The different colour garnets each have slightly different chemical compositions, which vary according to the location of the mine. They are usually formed when sedimentary rock, like shale, undergoes huge structural change - for example when tectonic plates converge leading to changes in temperature and pressure. These conditions cause the minerals to recrystallize into more stable forms and some of these new structures are garnet.
Meaning of January birthstone
Traditionally garnets were thought to protect travellers and heal heart and blood problems. Garnet is also thought to help eliminate negative feelings and emotions (depression, guilt) and support self confidence and clear thinking.
It signifies love, and permanence.
Garnet jewellery is perfect for:
- January birthday girls
- Second wedding anniversary gifts
- Friends and lovers about to travel