A Guide to January Birthstone (2020 Edition With Gift Ideas)

Birthstones are gemstones that represent a person’s birth month or zodiac sign. They are popular in jewelry, prominently featuring in earrings, rings, and pendant necklaces.

Each month has a different birthstone. All of these birthstones have unique meanings and historical significance. They are also thought to have certain special attributes that are unique to the gemstone and the person wearing them. Here is a guide to the January birthstone.

January Birthstone Garnet Ring in Silver Metal

What is the January birthstone?

The January birthstone is Garnet. Garnet is a gemstone that is composed of a group of minerals whose chemical composition varies. They have a stunning appearance and are usually placed in earrings, pendants, rings, among other pieces of jewelry.  

The word “garnet” originates from the word “gernet,” which is a 14th century Middle English word meaning “dark red.” It comes from the Latin word “granatum,” which means seed. Garnet gemstones resemble the red seeds of the pomegranate, hence the name.

Garnet is a durable gemstone. Evidence of garnet being used as jewelry dates as far back as the Bronze Age. There are remnants of garnet jewelry dating back to 3100 BC when the ancient Egyptians used garnet in their carvings and as inlays in their jewelry.

The gemstone was referred to as the gem of faith by the Egyptians and was believed to bring good fortune to those who perform good deeds while wearing the stone and bad fortune to those who do bad deeds.⚖️ It was seen as a symbol of life by the ancient Egyptians.

The Romans also held the gemstone in high regard, adorning them as signet rings in the 3rd and 4th centuries and were favored by the nobility in the middle ages. The gem was also used as a talisman to ward off plague and pestilence and to protect warriors as they went into battle.💪🏻 Garnets were also praised for their healing properties by wise men and ancient healers and were placed in wounds to help them heal faster.

Garnets became especially popular in the Victorian era. Royals adorned themselves with clusters of red garnet gemstones, forming large statement pieces. Today, garnets can be found in a wide variety of styles and jewelry pieces, ranging from rings to tiaras.

Although the most commonly recognized garnets are red in color, the gemstones are actually available in a rainbow of colors, ranging from dark red to vibrant green. Some rare garnet gemstones are colorless, blue, or a variety that changes color in different lights. The most common types are available in a beautiful range of reds, from deep violet-red to rust-colored.  

Red garnets are abundantly mined in India. There are also large red garnet deposits in Central Europe in countries such as the Czech Republic and Russia. The most expensive variety, the rare greens or Tsavorite, are from Tanzania and Kenya.

Other places with prevalent garnet deposits include Madagascar, the United States, Sri Lanka, and Greece. Unlike other stones that are mined underground, garnets are usually found above ground near water sources.

Garnets are stunning gemstones that should feature in your wardrobe. They often steal the show, drawing attention from everyone in the room. Examples of celebrities wearing January birthstone jewelry include the Duchess of Cambridge, born on January 9th, who has a garnet ring, and Kate Beckinsale who has Garnet Earrings.

Learning about the birthstone for January

What is the January birthstone color?

The January birthstone usually evokes thoughts of red. This has been the case for millennia because garnet most commonly occurs in red. However, if you are looking for a January birthstone today, there is a wide range of colors to choose from.

Garnets are available in hues such as deeply saturated purplish reds, orange, green, pinkish-orange, and even blue. Red garnet is the most commonly occurring variety, usually tinged with yellow, brown, and violet. The green variety, Tsavorite, is very rare because of the unique metamorphic conditions during its formation.

Vintage Style January Garnet Golden Ring With Diamond Accents

The garnet gemstone can also exhibit color change. The color change effect causes the color of the gemstone to change depending on the temperature or type of light in which the gemstone is being viewed. For instance, the blue pyrope-spessartine color changes from blue-green to purple.

What does the January birthstone mean?

The January birthstone is adorned as a symbol of power. It is believed to bring strength and good fortune to those who wear it. Apart from physical strength, garnets also play an important role in boosting your mental strength, extending to the realm of psychic healing.

The January birthstone is believed to induce self-confidence, passion, devotion, loyalty, friendship, trust, and positive energy in general. It enables the wearer to have a clearer perception of themselves and the people around them.🧘🏻‍♂️

What are the properties of the garnet gemstone?

Physical properties of garnet

All garnets have the same crystal structure. The difference arises from their chemical composition. The different varieties are classified into species. Only five species of garnet are of gemstone quality.

Garnet has a rating of between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. The wide range is due to the diversity of garnet species.

To put the hardness of garnet into perspective, quartz, the second most abundant mineral on earth, has a rating of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale. This is an important comparison to make since the presence of quartz is inescapable. It is airborne, hence can settle on jewelry. If thoughtlessly wiped away, it can cause scratching to minerals that rate lower than 7 on the Mohs scale.

For this reason, garnet species with a rating lower than 7 should be handled with special care when wearing, cleaning, or storing, to avoid getting the gemstones scratched by materials higher on the hardness scale. The softer species of garnet are more appropriately adorned in pendant necklaces and earrings. They can also be worn normally in January birthstone bracelets and January birthstone rings, but with caution.

Harder species with a rating of 7-7.5 can be worn every day in all types of jewelry with little worry. They are ideal for everyday wear since they can withstand mechanical shock and resist scratches in everyday use. All in all, garnet has fair to good toughness, meaning that it is durable enough for all types of jewelry.  

Healing properties of January garnet

The January garnet is believed to play a very significant role in the restoration of your health, protecting you from ailments, boosting your creativity, and rejuvenating your love life. The traits associated with the various colors of garnet have played a significant role in determining the medicinal value of the gemstone.

In ancient times, the most abundant variant of the garnet was the red garnet. For this reason, they were linked to blood and the heart. Garnets were believed to help with the flow of blood in the cardiovascular system, help cure various inflammatory ailments, and help in the treatment and prevention of hemorrhage.

It was also believed that garnets encouraged the production of hemoglobin. The right January birthstone could also boost DNA production and re-energize your blood, prevent cellular complications, and stimulate overall body metabolism.

Marquise Shaped Garnet Gemstones for Healing

The January garnet has healing properties for both men and women. Men, for instance, wear January garnets to cure lung ailments, heart palpitations, among other conditions related to the circulatory system. Women, on the other hand, wear garnet gemstones to reduce swelling and to foster hormonal balance.

Perhaps one of the most important benefits of the gemstone is its ability to help people recover from mental health conditions such as depression.🚵🏻‍♂️ It helps to reduce negative behavioral patterns, enabling the wearer to let go of destructive and negative thought patterns and ideas.

Garnet vs Ruby: What’s the difference?

⚠️Garnet and ruby are stunning gemstones that are both red and are usually easily confused with one another.

Although they have similar coloration, they are actually quite different. The most notable difference between these two gemstones is their durability. Rubies are more durable than garnets. Rubies have a rating of 9 on the Mohs hardness scale while garnets have an average rating of between 7 and 7.5 on the scale.

There is also a difference in the richness of the red coloration between the two gemstones. The fiery intense red color of ruby makes a garnet appear pale when they are placed side by side. When examining the color of a garnet against a light source, you’ll see a reflection of yellow and green. As you examine the color of a ruby against a light source, you’ll see reflections of red and blue.

Also, garnets can be differentiated from rubies by examining their refractive properties. Garnet is a single refractive gemstone while ruby is a double refractive gemstone.

Vintage Style Ruby Ring vs. January Garnet Ring
Vintage style ruby ring (Left) vs. Garnet ring (Right)

How to care for and clean January garnet birthstone?

Garnets are quite durable when compared to other gemstones. They are harder than gemstones such as opal or turquoise, but less durable than rubies or diamonds. The January birthstone is unaffected by light and common chemicals. However, it can be affected by hydrofluoric acid, which is usually found in rust removers.

👉🏻Despite being resistant to common chemicals, it is always safe to avoid contact with caustic chemicals such as cleaning products. Cleaning your January birthstone is easy. All you have to do is to wipe it down gently with warm soapy water.

High temperatures and sudden temperature changes (thermal shock) can cause fractures on the crystal structure of garnet. For this reason, steam cleaning your January birthstone is not recommended.

Once you have wiped it down, dry it with a soft cloth before storing it in a padded container. Air drying garnet gemstones is not recommended since it will leave unpleasant spots and disrupt the January birthstone’s sparkle.  

Bonus tips: How to choose and pair with January birthstone jewelry?

Garnet jewelry pieces are stunning and sparkle with vibrancy. The January birthstone is versatile and is available in a wide range of colors. Because of this, they can be paired with a wide range of materials.

When choosing the metal for your red garnet jewelry, white metals such as white gold and platinum will give the jewelry a modern touch, while yellow or rose gold will create a vintage look.

With garnet jewelry, you can choose between minimalistic and lavish pieces. Garnets possess a warm color that can be paired excellently with the cold color of the winter season. This creates a stunning contrast that will capture the attention of everyone. Pieces such as the pandora January birthstone charm and January birthstone charms make a powerful statement. Garnet gemstones also make beautiful engagement rings especially when the proposal is made in winter.

Does garnet have other colors?

Although the traditional color of the January birthstone is deep red, garnets are also available in an abundant range of stunning colors such as green, orange, blue, violet, yellow, and pink.

The green garnets are tsavorite and demantoid, yellow garnets are andradite and hessonite, orange garnets are spessartite and Mandarin garnet, purple and pink garnets are rhodolite garnet.  

Final Thoughts

Garnet is a versatile gemstone with a fascinating cultural history and significant healing properties. A lot of people believe that the birthstone not only has the ability to stimulate your circulatory system and cleanse your blood but also has a strong connection to your mental health.

Garnets are durable and available in a wide range of colors. This vast color palette provides people with an abundance of options when it comes to selecting January birthstone jewelry.

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