Sell With a Story: January Birthstone Guide
Discover the timeless appeal and limitless possibilities of Garnet.
Celebrate those January babies with a gemstone that mirrors the fiery spirit of the new year — Garnet. Though most popular in its deep red hues, this versatile gemstone unlocks a variety of options that are perfect for anyone born in the first month of the year.
Garnet has been loved and revered for centuries for its beauty, durability, and variety. When helping a customer find the perfect Garnet for their piece, share the rich history and fascinating attributes that make the January birthstone so unique.
The History and Meaning of Garnet
Garnet is a group of gemstones grown in metamorphic rock found all over the world. While red varieties of Garnet are most popular and plentiful, Garnet can come in a large range of colors, including green, orange, purple, yellow, and pink. The name Garnet itself is believed to have originated from the Latin word granatus, meaning seed-like, owing to its resemblance to pomegranate seeds.
The use of Garnet in jewelry can be seen as far as ancient times. In fact, pieces containing Garnet have been found in Egypt that date back more than 5,000 years old. In the Middle Ages, Garnets were preferred gemstones of royalty and members of the clergy. However, it’s not only the aesthetic appeal that drew jewelry-lovers to the vibrant gemstone.
There are those that believed Garnet holds protective properties for the wearer. It was said that the gemstone could illuminate the night sky and offer protection from nightmares or dangers while traveling. Garnet also symbolizes loving commitment as well as trust in friendships.
Did You Know?
Not only is Garnet the January birthstone, but it is the traditional symbol for second and 25th wedding anniversaries. Garnet is also the zodiac birthstone for Pisces and Virgo.
How to Care for Garnet
Garnet is a moderately durable gemstone that is suitable for everyday wear in jewelry. With a Mohs hardness rating of 7–7.5 and a toughness rating of Fair to Good, this gemstone will maintain its beauty with longevity if carefully handled. It is best to avoid abrasions and harsh contact with surfaces to avoid scratches, cracks, and fractures.
When cleaning jewelry containing Garnet, it is usually safe to use an ultrasonic cleaner, but you should avoid using a steam cleaner as the stone can be damaged. Long-term exposure to light will not dull the eye-catching color of Garnet like some gemstones, but heat and chemicals should be avoided.
Varieties of Garnet
The varieties of Garnet are identified by their composition, which results in a rainbow of options when it comes to color. All gem-quality Garnets are composed of silicone, aluminum, oxygen, and calcium. Metals — such as chromium, iron, magnesium or manganese — join the composition and impact the resulting color.
While Garnet can come in just about every shade of the rainbow, there are three popular color groups with a couple of variety options.
The red varieties of Garnet include Mozambique and Rhodolite Garnets. The Mozambique Garnets showcase a warm red color similar to Ruby, which makes it an excellent budget alternative. Rhodolite Garnets have a deep reddish-purple hue that is fascinating and mesmerizing.
A prominent orange variety of Garnet is Spessartite, also called Mandarin Garnet, as it resembles the citric fruit. This brilliantly colored gemstone is prized for its rarity and beaming optical appeal.
The rarest of Garnets are the green varieties — Tsavorite and Demantoid. Tsavorite Garnet was discovered just over 50 years ago in the Tsavo National Park in Tanzania and Kenya. Some believe the green of Tsavorite can rival even the luscious green of fine Emeralds. Rarest of all, Demantoid has a fire, luster, and radiance that can rival that of a diamond. Its pure vivid green is hard to resist.
Choosing Garnet Jewelry
Garnet’s versatility shines through when set in various jewelry styles. Whether adorning a regal pendant, sparkling in a vintage-inspired ring, or accentuating the delicacy of earrings, Garnet lends its unique charm to diverse designs. Its vibrant colors complement both contemporary and classic settings, making it a beloved choice for jewelry lovers everywhere.
When pairing with metal colors, each variety of Garnet offers stunning options. Red varieties stand out against the purity of white gold or platinum. Orange and green tones are complemented by the warmth of yellow gold. Even the rare pink and purple varieties can pair well with rose gold for a contemporary design.
Garnet: A Timeless Beauty
In the realm of gemstones, Garnet stands as a timeless symbol of passion, protection, and enduring beauty. From its historical significance to its array of colorful varieties, Garnet continues to captivate hearts and find its place in modern jewelry. After exploring the allure of January’s birthstone, let the radiant hues of Garnet inspire and accompany your customers through the tapestry of life.
Senior Product Manager, Gemstones
Kristen holds degrees in Marketing and Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and has multiple certifications from GIA. Her experience with interior design and jewelry merchandising aids her in curating a diverse gemstone assortment.