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Garnet – the January Birthstone.

The January Birthstone

The Garnet is well known as the January birthstone. Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the pyrope garnet to a vibrant green. Garnet, derived from the word granatummeans seed and is called so because of the gemstone’s resemblance to a pomegranate seed.

January birthstone

Garnet History…

Many people gravitate toward jewelry that has meaning. Birthstones are the first connection many of us make to the world of gems, either as a child or from a significant other.

The modern concept of wearing a gem that represents your birth month can be loosely traced to 16th century Poland when it became popular to wear a different stone for each month of the year. Later, of course, jewelers grabbed the idea as a marketing opportunity, creating official lists and encouraging the purchase of gemstone-themed jewelry for birthday gifts.

Hundreds of years later, the legend and nostalgia behind purchasing a birthstone have become more intimate than ever. Add a fun and charming gift to your January sweetheart’s birthday stocking with the Garnet – your January birthstone.

Garnet - the January Birthstone

Garnet Facts & Folklore

  • The word “garnet” is derived from a term that means “seed,” because the gem resembles the color and shape of a pomegranate seed.
  • Although often seen in shades of red, garnets appear in several other colors, including pink, orange, brown, yellow, green, purple, and black.
  • The garnet symbolizes constancy, truth, and faith and was thought to keep the wearer safe during travel.
  • In Asia, bullets were once made from garnets because it was believed that they would cause enemies to bleed more.
  • Not all mined garnets are worn as jewelry; lower-quality garnets are used in products such as garnet-coated sandpaper.
  • Garnets were also thought to prevent nightmares. If you dream of losing a garnet necklace, unexpected good fortune is in your future.

Where is Garnet Found?

Garnets can be found in many different regions and countries. Bohemia was the primary source of the red pyrope garnets that were so popular during Victorian times. In the 19th century Russia, green demantoid garnets from the Ural Mountains were prized by the Russian royal family and used by the great jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé (1846–1920).

Today, the African continent supplies much of the world’s garnet. Namibia is now producing demantoids, and most of the bright green tsavorites in the market come from Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar. Namibia and Tanzania are also key sources of the rich orange-to-yellow spessartine garnets. For many years, Southern California’s Little Three mining area was known for producing this spellbinding gem, The birthstone for January is also found in Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka, among other countries.

Garnet - the January Birthstone

Small-scale artisanal miners, such as this tsavorite miner near Voi, in Kenya, are estimated to supply some 80% of the world’s gems. Photo: Robert Weldon/GIA

Garnet Cleaning and Care

The different types of a garnet range between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that this birthstone is more susceptible to damage than rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. So while not all garnets are good candidates for daily wear, they are ideal for earrings, brooches, and pendants. Give thought to how you store your garnet jewelry. If you let it rub against harder gems, it can be scratched.

Most garnets are not treated. Rarely, however, some garnets might be fracture filled, whereby treaters try to improve the apparent clarity of the gem by filling surface-reaching breaks with a glass-like substance. Such treated stones require special care. Regardless, use of a soft brush with warm soapy water is always safe for cleaning garnets. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe, except for stones that have fractures or have been fracture filled. Steam cleaning is not recommended. ~ Source GIA

The Garnet Today

Gittelson Jewelers is proud to offer some unique Garnets, both in-store and available for custom orders. Purchasing birthstones, for some, is as important a decision as an engagement ring. Its personal, special and likely to be worn for life, even if its fitting changes over time from a ring, to a necklace or some other piece of inspiring jewelry.

Treat someone special in January to a gemstone that is undeniably incredible. The Garnet. Check out our birthstone jewelry guide, for more information.

Garnet - the January Birthstone

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