The birthstone for January is garnet.
Garnet is the perfect name for a gemstone that is as luscious and deep as a pomegranate (granatum in latin). Its deep red hue is the most recognized, but it is also found in a variety of other colors including green, orange, and purple.
In addition to being the birthstone for January, garnet is also the traditional gemstone for a 2nd wedding anniversary and the gemstone for Aquarius zodiac signs.
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Garnet Birthstone History
Since the Bronze Age, garnets have been treasured for their stunning red hues and timeless beauty. This precious stone has been around since 3000 B.C., when it was found adorning a man buried in a tomb. The significance of garnets has varied throughout the ages, yet its charm has endured – and even captivated – generations.
Garnet has been a source of fascination for many civilizations throughout history. In the Middle Ages, people believed that the gemstone could be used to cure the Black Plague, prevent arguments, ensure faithfulness, and even warn the wearer of approaching danger by changing colors. But the belief in the power of garnet goes much further back in time. Ancient Egyptians, for example, believed that the stone could protect them from evil forces and bring good luck.
In Ancient Greek mythology, Hades was determined to ensure the return of Persephone, daughter of Zeus, to the underworld. To that end, he gifted her with pomegranate seeds, which eventually became known as garnets. This gemstone was thought to guarantee a safe return and so, friends began to exchange garnets with one another as a token of protection when parting ways. However, pomegranates have a deeper meaning, as they are also symbolic of the womb and the feminine life force.
Thus, garnets have become a powerful symbol of protection and the strength of the female spirit.
Even today, garnet is still valued for its beauty and used mainly for jewelry and aesthetic purposes. However, its legacy as a powerful stone that can protect, heal, and bring good luck still remains.
Garnet Birthstone Meaning
Garnet is a symbol of friendship that brings health, wealth and success to the wearer.
It provides a protective and calming influence – boosting the courage, hope and self-confidence necessary to achieve great things.
Considered a lucky stone that represents prosperity and abundance, garnet supports accomplishments in all facets of life.
Garnet birthstone Properties
Garnet is the name for a whole family of minerals with a common crystalline structure and similar chemical composition – which results in gemstones of almost every colour.
Garnet includes a dazzling collection of minerals that sparkle in an array of hues. From fiery reds to vibrant yellows and oranges, and even a mesmerizing green, these gems captivate with their beauty.
Pyrope and almandine are the two main garnet varieties, ranging from purple to red. Spessartine garnets add a touch of vibrancy with their oranges and yellows, while andradite is mostly found in yellow to green varieties. The most varied of them all, grossular garnets, come in a plethora of colors, from colorless to yellow, reddish orange, orangy red, and even a stunning green called tsavorite.
Garnet has a MOHs hardness between 6.5 and 7.5 – making them less durable than diamonds, sapphires, and rubies but still a wonderful choice for most jewelry such as earrings, pendants, or brooches.
Garnet birthstone Care
Genuine, untreated garnets are very easy to care for. Soaking in a bit of warm, soapy water before brushing with a clean, soft bristled brush is all that’s needed to keep your garnets sparkling and beautiful.
For a deeper cleaning, you can use an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner on untreated garnets but the very high temperatures of a steam cleaner or boiling water should be avoided.
Store your garnet jewelry in a soft pouch or fabric-lined box taking care not to let it rub against harder gemstones such as diamonds or rubies.