Happy birthday, January babies! Your lovely birthstone is garnet. Lets take a look at what makes this precious stone so special.
An Ancient Adornment
The name “garnet” comes from the Latin word granatus, which means “pomegranate.” Though this gem is usually found in its deep red variety (hence the name), it actually comes in orange, yellow, purple and even green too!
Artifacts featuring red garnets have been found across the ancient world. From Egyptian necklaces to Roman signet rings to the favorite adornments of medieval clergy and nobles, it’s easy to see that garnets were a highly valued gem.
This trend continued into more modern eras too, especially among the Victorians. Lovely red garnets were used as embellishments for everything from hair combs to choker-style necklaces. During this time, most garnets were mined in Bohemia, which was famous for these exquisite gems.
Today, the vast majority are mined in Africa, but believe it or not, Southern California was once know for producing them too! In fact, various deposits are scattered across the globe, all the way from Afghanistan to Brazil.
Care & Keeping
Interestingly, not all garnets have the same hardness rating on the Mohs scale. These beauties can range anywhere between 6.5 to 7.5, making them a stone that requires a bit more care. That’s why you’ll often find garnets set in earrings, pendants or fashion rings rather than engagement rings. That way your garnet is not subjected to the various bumps and scrapes of daily wear.
All that being said, it’s super easy to clean garnets. Warm soapy water and a soft brush will get the job done at home, or you can use an ultrasonic cleaner (so long as you’re sure your garnet is not fractured/fracture filled). However, always be sure to store your garnet jewelry away from other jewelry. Harder stones (like diamonds, rubies, or sapphires) can scratch it, while garnets themselves can scratch softer stones (like pearls or opal).
January Gift Guide
Looking for the perfect birthday gift for that special someone? Here’s a small selection of a few of our favorite garnet pieces.
Sterling Silver Garnet Studs
These dainty earrings are an affordable birthstone gift for that special someone–just $142!
Le Vian 1.90ct Rhodelite Garnet & .13ct Diamond Pendant
You can never go wrong with a designer piece from Le Vian! This gorgeous 14kt gold pendant is only $849!
Le Vian 0.65ct Purple Garnet & .42ct Diamond Ring
For a nontraditional choice, how about this purple garnet ring–also by Le Vian! This gorgeous piece is only $1,199!