January Birthstone: Garnet Gemstone

Jan 3, 2021 | Birthstones

People with January birthdays are lucky to have one of the most natural and versatile colored birth, the garnet. Although most commonly available in a deep fiery brownish red, garnets come in almost every color.

What makes garnets so special? The garnet gemstone is one of the few gems (along with peridot) that come out of the ground the color they are. The vibrant gems are sold without heat treatment to change or enhance the color. That’s pretty spectacular considering how saturated and vivid the garnet gemstone is.


Garnets have a long history of being and prized gemstone. Aristotle wrote about garnets over 2000 years ago and ancient Rome used signet rings with carved garnets to seal the wax on important documents.


Garnets are most commonly assosciated with being red, but can also be found in luscious greens, pinks, oranges, purples, and even blues. The color variety in garnets depends on the minerals present during the gemstone’s formulation. For example, the presence of iron makes for brownish red garnets, manganese creates orange and pink garnets and aluminum, chromium or vanadium makes for green garnets.


There are about 20 known species of garnets but only 5 are commercially imported as gems. The five species are Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular and Andradite. There’s a sixth species known as Uvarovite which forms as crystals typically too small to be cut.


The discovery of the Bohemian garnet deposits in central Europe made the gemstone widely available in the 1500s. In the 1900s Russian royalty prized green garnets found in the Ural Mountains. Today, Africa is mining most of the worlds garnets although they are also found in Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, among other countries.


Garnets are 6.5 to 7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale of hardness, making them better suited for earrings and pendants. Garnets still make for some stunning rings, it’s just important to note that they are more susceptible to damage than a sapphire, ruby or diamond and should not be worn roughly.

Garnet birthstone jewelry is the perfect gift for someone born in January. The garnet is also the gemstone for a second anniversary. To shop our garnet jewelry, click here. 

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