If your Zodiac signs align with Capricorn or Aquarius, then you likely were born in January. When it comes to birthstones, January serves up this fine jewelry spice of life big time with a beautiful dynamic duo of gemstones. So if you were not aware, there are two January birthstones; introducing the Garnet and Rose Quartz.
What is the Garnet birthstone?
The garnet is exquisitely beautiful and filled up with legend, lore, and beauty. It is pleasing to simply stare at for hours with its gorgeous sparkle. It is also a fairly affordable gem compared to other red stones like ruby or pink tourmaline, so it’s a fantastic way to start a gemstone jewelry collection Because it naturally occurs as big, clear crystals, it is a great choice for showstopping statements as your jewelry pieces. If this is this birthstone of a loved one, it will make a thoughtful gift for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Mother’s Day, or Valentine’s Day (which is right around the corner).
This January birthstone is formulated from Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular, and Andradite minerals. Specifically, the Pyrope and Almandine range in purple-red hues while the Spessartine is spotted in vivid oranges and yellows. Grossular is the most rainbow of the minerals that have colorless notes in yellow, red, and orange, but garners attention most in the vibrant greens.
There are several blends or varieties of the garnet gemstone. This includes:
- Rhodolite- combination of Pyrope and Almandine yields a purplish color.
- Malaia- combination of Spessartite and Pyrope are usually reddish, yellowish, or pinkish-orange.
- Color-Changing Garnets- another Pyrope and Spessartite blend that is reddish-blue with purple. Other variations of this are Almandine and Pyrope that shift from red to purple, depending on the light source.
Throughout the ages, Garnets have been heralded as an elite and durable gemstone. In the bronze age, Garnets were originally used as gemstones and abrasives. During the Ancient Egyptian era, the Pharaohs proudly touted elaborate necklaces adorned with red Garnets. On the other hand, Ancient Rome had signet rings that contained Garnet intaglios. This was used to stamp the wax and secured important documents. In the Middle Ages, the clergy and nobility preferred the red Garnet.
Fun fact: The name “Garnet” originates from the medieval Latin granatus, which signifies the red color of a pomegranate. It’s time to learn more about the Garnet’s birthstone meaning and history.
During the Victorian Era, these vivacious and multidimensional red beauties were extremely popular. This is also when the most famous piece of jewelry was fashioned. Keep reading.
A famous piece of jewelry
One of the most famous pieces of Garnet jewelry is the Antique Pyrope Hair Comb. The term Pyrope has Greek origins that mean “fiery-eyed,” which deservedly represents this January birthstone. These elaborate stones are from the Bohemian (modern-day) portion of the Czech Republic) historic mines. You can see the Antique Pyrope Hair Comb in the Smithsonian Museum.
Garnet health benefits
There is a rumor of some health benefits and very positive vibes that are channeled through you when you are wearing your Garnet birthstone. These benefits include eliminating negative feelings that stem from guilt and depression. Additionally, people have noted stronger self-confidence and mental clarity.
In the medieval era, Garnets were even used as remedies for inflammatory disease, hemorrhages and anger. Traditional folklore also ties Garnet to the circulatory system and production of hemoglobin. They believed this birthstone ignites the metabolism, treats spinal disorders, stimulates the blood, and so much more.
Garnet care and cleaning
The January birthstone ranges between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it’s more susceptible to damage when compared to other stones (i.e. diamonds). With jewelry in general, it’s always best to store each piece individually. This way, your stones don’t get scratched by one another. To clean, you can use a soft brush with warm, soapy water. For non-fracture-filled Garnets, you can use an ultrasonic cleaner.
Although it’s rare, some Garnets are fracture-filled. If that’s the case, a jeweler can fix the fractures by filling them with a glass-like substance.
What is the Rose Quartz birthstone?
This secondary January birthstone has an extensive history dating back to 7000 BC in Mesopotamia (modern-day Iraq). Around 800-600 BC, the Assyrians and Romans proudly touted this stone. The Rose Quartzes’ magical reputation started coming into the fold with the Ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Greek civilizations through using these crystals as potent talismans. During the Middle Ages, medical practitioners leveraged them in their healing potions. Similarly, early cultures of peoples used Rose Quartzes as an item to balance disappointment, anger, and emotions.
The Rose Quartz is thought to reawaken the heart and provide a deep sense of personal fulfillment. A welcome contentment allowing one the capacity to love and to give love.
Rose Quartz Properties
Unlike the multi-composited Garnet, the Rose Quartz is simply made of Silica—the common form of the quartz. This secondary birthstone of January ranges in color from a delicate, light pink to a deeper pink-red. If you’ve ever walked through the superstition mountains of Arizona, you have likely seen rose quartz sitting in the stone for thousands of years. Maybe you’ve dug out your own sample and polished it up at home!
Rose Quartz Variations
What’s interesting to note for this birthstone of January is they’re opaque or translucent in their essential form. Starting in 1980, faceted Rose Quartzes started rising in the jewelry stone market due to transparent material discovery in Madagascar.
- Star Rose Quartz- a type of Rose Quartz that has aligned, silky inclusions that reflect light in a 4-6 rayed star shape.
- Cat’s Eye Rose Quartz- a variation where the reflection is a single band resembling an eye.
- Pink Quartz- similar rose-colored gemstone.
Rose Quartz Health Benefits
Not surprisingly, the Rose Quartz is well-known for its benefits and is most often considered a healing stone. Some believe it alleviates heart disease, depression, headaches, and other stress-related afflictions. Additionally, they are thought to be great for blood circulation, PMS, thrombosis, heart issues, and skin problems, etc.
And if you’re expecting a baby then even better. This is the perfect gemstone to use during pregnancy since it enhances the health of the mother and baby, eases labor pains, boosts milk production, and prevents postpartum depression.
Rose Quartz Care and Cleaning
Another fun fact: the secondary birthstone of January is known for its durability, with a hardness of 7 and no cleavage. Like the Garnet, use warm water and a soft brush. It’s best to stay away from mechanical systems since Rose Quartzes usually have inclusions.
For Rose Quartz variations like Pink Quartz, you may want to save them for your evening wear or occasional use. UV light sources and sunlight can diminish the color of this gemstone. You can keep it extra-vibrant and only rock this January birthstone once in the while.
For those variations (i.e. Pink Quartz), save them for the evening or occasional wear only. Why? UV light sources and sunlight diminish the color. So do yourself and your stone a favor to keep that pink extra vibrant.
You can read more about the January birthstones at our article, Garnet – the January Birthstone.
Contact Gittelson Jewelers
If you need help finding the perfect January birthstone or any other month’s birthstone, other fine jewelry or custom-designed engagement rings, just contact us. If you live in the Twin Cities, you can schedule an appointment to visit us anytime or you can reach out online.