Happy New Year! Those born in this month are lucky to have the beautiful and diverse garnet as their birthstone. Garnets are commonly red but also come in a vast range of extraordinary colors, including orange, yellow, purple, and green. There are even garnets that change color from blue to purple in different lighting. Some believe the true value of the garnet birthstone is its power to bring the wearer good health, wealth, and happiness. But let’s take a deeper look at this January birthstone and what makes it so special!
What is Garnet?
Garnets form in layers of rock deep underground where they withstand extreme temperature variations. Geologists study garnets to understand the effects of temperature and pressure on surrounding rocks. Garnet deposits are found all over the world. However, India is one of the biggest producers and you can also find large mines in Africa, South America, and Russia.
Garnet is actually made up of a group of several minerals. Five of these – pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular and andradite – are important to gemstones. Pyrope and almandine range from purple to red. Spessartine is found in vibrant oranges and yellows, while andradite is mostly yellow to green. Grossular may have the widest range, from colorless through yellow to reddish orange and orangey-red, as well as a strong green called tsavorite.
These different types of 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 harder stones like rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. So while not all garnets are good candidates for daily wear, they are ideal for earrings, brooches and pendants. And be sure to give thought to how you store your garnet jewelry!
History & Lore
The word “garnet” is derived from a term that means “seed” because the stone resembles the color and shape of a pomegranate seed. How sweet! Garnets have been used since the Bronze Age as gemstones and abrasives. Necklaces studded with red garnets adorned the pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Signet rings in ancient Rome featured garnet intaglios that were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents. The clergy and nobility of the Middle Ages had a preference for red garnets.
More recently, before she got engaged to Prince William, Catherine Middleton often wore a pearl and garnet gold ring. The press frequently speculated whether it was a gift from Prince William. But why? Because the garnet is the Duchess’ January birthstone, while the pearl is Prince’s William’s June birthstone!
The garnet stone 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. Garnets were also thought to prevent nightmares. If you dream of losing a garnet necklace, unexpected good fortune is in your future. I dream about jewelry all the time, so I guess I’m in luck!
Kristen Baird Jewelry & Garnet
Gem Bar Necklace: Our Gem Bar Necklace is the ultimate expression of the modern woman in her most organic form. Delicate in appearance, yet strong in composition, no two are alike. Mimicking a feminine silhouette, this necklace features a fluid-like sterling silver bar with added sparkle from an exposed gemstone of your choice. Dress it up or down, this necklace reveals raw beauty on any present-day femme.
Stardrop Earrings: Inspired by the radiance and beauty of cosmic meteor showers, the Stardrop Earrings are reminiscent of nature's version of a fireworks show. Featuring two gemstones, gracefully free-falling like little drops in the cosmos, these earrings sway back and forth capturing every gentle movement and splashing light as they go. Lightweight and effortless, these are show-stopping pieces are sure to please.
I like to find ways to sneak deep red garnets into my work, often as an accent stone. It’s a romantic and intense color that pairs so well with other lighter stones. With its medium hardness, I am always careful when working with garnet not to scratch it, but overall, it’s a fun stone to design around. I hope all the January babies out there have a wonderful birthday and incredible beginning to 2021!