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The birthstone for January is Garnet, a red birthstone that comes in a range of different hues and tones. Garnet can be deep vibrant red to soft hues of brownish red that are very subtle. Garnet can be found and purchased in a variety of different colours but red is the color that is typically recognized as January’s birthstone.
Historically, Garnet is quite different from other birthstones that are mined beneath the surface. Garnets are usually found near water sources and above ground. Garnet is formed when metamorphic rocks weather and alter over time due to heat, pressure, and other environmental aspects.
Garnet has been around for centuries and some records state that it was found as early as 3100 B.C. It has been found in Egypt, Central Europe, Czech Republic, Greece, Madagascar, Tanzania, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, and the United States.
Garnet is recognized as the birthstone of power, good fortune, and strength. Throughout history, it was known as the “Gem of Faith” and was known to provide the wearer with good fortune as long as they were doing acts of good while wearing it. However, it can also bring bad fortune to those who are wearing it while doing bad things. It was held in high regard by the Ancient Egyptians and Romans.
Additionally, in more modern times, Garnet was believed to help those who suffer from nightmares and those who travel. It can also aid in feelings of peacefulness and encourage positive and healthy relationships.
Garnet was chosen to be the birthstone for January because of the name. The name was derived from a fruit that was considered to be sacred in ancient times - the pomegranate. Pomegranate and Garnet often share the same colors. In ancient times, the pomegranate represented different elements of the seasons, as well as rebirth and fertility. Due to January being the first month in a brand new year, it is quite appropriate that rebirth would be associated with both January and Garnet.
If you are born in January and chose to represent your birthstone, you can start your new year with feelings of peace, rebirth, and strength. You don’t have to wear Garnet if you are born in January, but it has its benefits.
When shopping for a Garnet birthstone you should examine the colors quite carefully. Garnets are known for being dense and saturated in their tones and hues. The best way to determine if your garnet is real is by ensuring the color is rich. If your garnet stone looks oddly bright, light, or vivid, then there is a good chance it is fake.
The common factor that go into determining the value of a Garnet stone is the cleanness. Garnets are generally quite clean stones that are somewhat transparent and glassy. You should not be able to visibly see inclusions in the red garnets such as pyrope. Additionally, the more red and vibrant the gemstone is, the more valuable it is.
Garnet comes in different levels of hardness. It can range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Ironically, while it represents strength, garnet is not as hard as ruby and is more susceptible to being damaged. Not all Garnets should be worn daily and if they are, we recommend considering a piece of jewelry that is less likely to get damaged such as earrings, and pendants.
Garnet stones are typically untreated. However, in rare circumstances, they might be filled if they are cracked or fractured. This process can sometimes improve the clarity of the birthstone with a glass-like material. However, this is very rare and would require you take even more care of the gem..
If you are in the market for a piece of jewelry that features the Garnet birthstone, there are a few guidelines that you can follow to help you pick the perfect one. For starters, garnet is very rich and therefore pairs well with silver-toned metals. The silver is very subtle and can allow the deep saturated Garnet to shine.
Historically Garnet is often seen with yellow gold which gives it a classic look that is bursting with richness. For an antique or vintage look, choose a piece that has a deep garnet stone and a yellow gold frame. If you plan to wear this piece on only special occasions, consider a ring or a large flashy necklace. For everyday wear, we recommend a pair of earrings.
Garnet is typically red in color. The most popular garnet is called pyrope.
The birthstone represents strength and rebirth.
Garnets as a gem are not all that rare. However, the demantoid garnet is the most valuable and rare of all the garnets. Red almandine is the most common garnet because it is inexpensive and easy to find.
Garnet gems are traditionally considered a semiprecious gem. However, some garnets have sold for ten times the price of a diamond per carat.