18 Dec What is Garnet? January’s Birthstone Meaning
What is garnet? January’s birthstone meaning is filled with lore, legend and beauty… If you were born in January, then you can discover all about your stunning, personal gemstone below.
What is garnet? It is a silicate mineral which, in its crystal form, looks beautiful and sparkling.
It actually comes in many colours including red, green and yellow, however, red is the most popular colour.
Because the red gems are so beautiful, they are often used in jewellery.
2. History and links to royalty
This sparkling red gem is a legendary precious stone.
For example, in Egypt, archaeologists have discovered garnet amulets in the tombs of pharaohs.
In Rome, it was typical for noble patriarchs to have carved signet rings made from garnet, while ancient Persians only allowed their kings to own and wear garnets.
3. Exceptional sparkle
Red garnet usually comes in red-orange, red-brown or purple hues.
Its sparkle is so intense and captivating that it is referred to as “fire” by gemmologists.
If you want to see its sparkle at its best, look at your gemstone in soft lighting, such as candlelight.
Garnet ranks 6.5 – 7.5 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, and therefore it is of medium hardness.
To give you an idea, diamonds rate 10 on the Mohs scale, while talc scores only 1. This means that while garnet is fairly durable, you should handle it with care.
Avoid knocking or catching your jewellery and store it separately so that harder gems like diamonds don’t scratch it.
5. Where is it found?
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.
6. The name comes from Latin
The name “garnet” name comes from the Latin word “granatus”, meaning “seeds”.
Clusters of garnet crystals resemble the red seeds inside a pomegranate.
Pomegranate seeds on the left, garnet crystals on the right
7. Birthstone and anniversary dates
As the birthstone for January, garnet is said to bring love, luck, health, loyalty and friendship to people who are born this month.
It is also the gem that married people traditionally gift on their 2nd and 18th wedding anniversary.
8. Legend and lore
Garnet created plenty of wonderful legends and beliefs in the past. For instance:
♦ During the Roman Empire people believed the gem protected travellers. If it sparkled, it was a warning of approaching danger.
♦ The ancient Chinese said that the red gems represented a tigers’ souls that had transformed into precious gems after death.
♦ Navajo Indians in Utah, USA, used the gems as adornments to bring luck and protection.
9. The Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday ring
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.
Why? Because the garnet is the Duchess’ birthstone (she was born in January), while the pearl is Prince’s William’s birthstone (born in June).
10. A special birthstone jewellery gift
Red garnet is an exquisitely sparkling, beautiful gemstone that’s pleasing to gaze at.
It’s also a fairly affordable gem compared to other red stones like ruby or pink tourmaline, so it’s a fantastic way to start a gemstone jewellery collection
Because it naturally occurs as big, clear crystals, it’s a great choice for showstopping statement jewellery pieces. If this is your loved one’s birthstone, it will make a thoughtful gift for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, Mother’s Day or Valentine’s.