While people born in January only have one birthstone to choose from, it comes in almost every color of the rainbow! The shade that most people associate with garnet is a deep, gorgeous red, but you can find stones in shades of yellow, green, purple and orange. What is the history of January’s only birthstone?
The Storied History of Garnet
The name garnet comes from the word granatus, which is the Latin word for pomegranate. These stones have been used in jewelry for centuries of history thanks to their beauty and versatility. Pharaohs in ancient Egypt wore garnet in necklaces, and ancient Roman rulers also wore garnet in signet rings. Nobility and clergy also wore ruby red garnet jewelry in the Middle Ages to reflect their status.
What Is Garnet?
Garnet is made of many trace minerals, including grossular, andradite, spessartine, pyrope and almandine. The minerals that are present will determine what color the stone is, so you could discover garnet that is mustard yellow, deep purple, bright red, red-orange, vivid orange, verdant green and more.
Where Is Garnet Found?
Garnet is harvested throughout the world, including Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, southern California, Myanmar, Iran, India and Pakistan. The garnet stones can range a great deal in size and hardness depending on the minerals contained within. Most stones fall between 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. Garnet should be used thoughtfully when placed alongside harder gemstones, as it can easily be scratched or damaged by them. In most cases, garnet is used in earrings, pendants or brooches. Garnet today can be found in jewelry or in products like garnet-coated sandpaper.
What Does Garnet Represent?
In ancient Egypt, Egyptians saw garnet as a symbol of life and vitality. Healers would place pieces of garnet into wounds to help speed along the healing process, and many warriors would wear garnet into battle to ward off harm and prevent illness. In ancient Asia, bullets were made of pieces of garnet since warriors thought that the stone would make the victims bleed more. Garnet was used in Victorian times to make intricate jewelry that mimicked pomegranates, with clusters of small stones scattered around a necklace to create a bigger piece. Today, garnet represents eternal friendship and trust, as well as a healthy life and protection against harm.
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.