January only has one birthstone, but it can be found in almost any color you can imagine. While most people think of garnet as a rich red hue, it can be found in shades of green, purple, orange, pink and yellow. This silicate mineral is a beautiful gem that looks fantastic in a broad range of jewelry settings.
Garnet can be naturally found in many colors, but red is generally the most sought after. Unlike some other stones, it is not one mineral but a group of numerous minerals including pyrope, spessartine, grossular, almandine and andradite. Depending on which minerals are present, the shade of the garnet can differ.
The History of Garnet
The word garnet comes from the medieval Latin word for pomegranate. They have been used since the Bronze Age as both abrasives to smooth other items and gemstones. In ancient Rome, rulers had signet rings with garnet embedded that were used to stamp the wax sealing critical documents. In the Middle Ages, both the nobility and the clergy wore red garnet stones in their jewelry. Indian astrologists believed that garnet can help to eliminate negative feelings and improve confidence and mental clarity.
One of the most notable pieces of garnet jewelry throughout history is the antique pyrope hair comb at the Smithsonian. The piece was created during the Victorian era and the large pyrope garnet stones are a beautiful deep red.
Where Is Garnet Found?
Garnet can be harvested from many countries throughout the world. Green garnet stones from the Ural Mountains were worn by Russian royals in the 19th century. During the Victorian era, Bohemian red garnets were the most popular. Today, many garnet stones come from Tanzania, Kenya, Madagascar, Tanzania and even Southern California.
How to Take Care of Your Garnet Stones
Depending on the minerals involved, garnet could be a 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. It is more vulnerable to damage than other gemstones like diamonds, sapphires and rubies. Avoid letting garnet stones rub against harder gems or pairing it with softer stones like pearls and opals. Use a soft brush with warm soapy water to clean your jewelry.
Preserve Your Birthstone Jewelry with SAZ Gem & Jewelry Appraisal
Whether you have a family ring you are interested in learning the value of or you’re looking to expand your collection, SAZ Gem & Jewelry Appraisal is here to help.For more information, give us a call at 425-785-1871.