Garnet is the traditional birthstone for the month of January. When I first started out selling jewelry many moons ago I was amazed by how popular both the garnet and the amethyst stones were. I found these stones to be more popular than diamonds. Garnets come in many shades and colors ranging from red, yellow, orange, blue, brown, purple and pink to colorless. The rarest of the garnet is the blue garnet. This was discovered in Madagascar in the 1990’s
The birthstones we associate with certain months now are not necessarily the same ones as in ancient times. During ancient times it wasn’t so much the stone that was the stone for the month but the color of the stone.
For example, a sapphire in the Bible was probably known today as lapis. Diamonds were probably a white sapphire or white topaz. The stones originally assigned to each month related to the stones appearing on the breastplate of a Jewish high priest.
The wearing of birthstones is considered to bring good health and good luck. Astrologers for ages attribute supernatural powers to certain gemstones. The garnet is said to bring peace, prosperity, and good health to one’s home. The stone is believed to bring curative powers.
It signifies victory, truth, purity, friendship, faith and protection. It is associated with awareness, commitment, insight and regeneration, countering black magic, negative forces and dark energies.
There is a scale that determines the hardness of a stone, it’s call the Moh’s Scale. On this scale the garnet has a hardness of 6.5-7.5. To give you a comparison, a diamond comes in at 10 and coral or pearl come in at a 3. To go further, a diamond can scratch a garnet but not the other way around.
Most people think with red when they think with garnet as the birthstone for January. The name “garnet” is a Medieval Latin word, “grantum” which is an adjective meaning “dark red”. It is thought that this adjective could have been extracted from the word “pomegranate” due to the shape and color of the seeds of the pomegranate. It could also have come from the medieval latin word: “granum” referring to red die.
Large deposits of red garnet were found in Bohemia (Central Europe) around the 16th century which became the the focus of the jewelry industry in that area. Bohemian garnet from the Czech Republic continues to be mined today. Different types of garnet occur in different locations including the USA, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania and Turkey.
Her are some more beautiful garnets. Thanks as always for reading!
The Jewelry Lady
*Birthstones by Month
*The Farmers Almanac