Garnet – The Birthstone of January
The name “garnet” is a derivation of the Latin word “granatum”, which means “grain” in English. The gemstone is so named because of the resemblance that garnet crystals have to the seeds of the pomegranate fruit.
The Colours of Garnet
To most people, the garnet is a red stone, when in fact, it comes in a variety of colours, including different shades of red, green, yellow, and black. Garnets can even be colourless.
The different colours of the gemstone come from surrounding metals like iron, manganese, and aluminium. Calcium also has an influence on the colour of the stone, with some varieties even containing mineral fibres that give the illusion of the stone having a star inside.
Green garnets are extremely rare, and the most sought-after. Colourless and emerald green garnets, followed by the pure red stones, are highly treasured.
Garnets have such an intense and enchanting sparkle, that gemmologists refer to it as the stone’s “fire.” This intense sparkle is best seen under a soft light, like a candle flame.
The hardness of the different types of garnets ranges between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Diamonds, on the other hand, are rated 10, which means that the garnet is of medium hardness and more susceptible to damage than diamonds, sapphires, and rubies.
How To Care For And Store Garnet Jewellery
While the garnet is reasonably durable, it should be handled with care. When wearing garnet jewellery, avoid catching it or knocking it. Garnet jewellery items should be stored away from other pieces, to protect it from getting scratched by the harder diamonds, rubies, and sapphires, and prevent it from scratching softer gems like pearls and opals.
It is not advisable to steam clean garnet jewellery. However, it is perfectly safe to clean it with warm soapy water and a soft brush.
Where are garnets found?
These gemstones are found in many areas in the world, including Australia, North and South America, Spain, Asia, Russia, Africa, and India. Generally, garnets are found as tiny pebbles in rivers and streams, where the metamorphic and igneous rocks that contain them, have worn away.
When Were They First Used as jewellery?
Evidence of jewellery containing garnet stones was discovered in ancient graves in former Czechoslovakia, dating as far back as the Bronze Age! Garnet jewellery dating back to 3100 BC, was also found in Egypt, 2000 – 1000 BC in Sweden, and 2300 BC in Sumeria.
In Greece, the January birthstone was highly valued during the 3rd and 4th centuries and remained the popular choice for jewellery items during the Roman era. Garnets were also treasured and used by Native Americans and pre-Columbian Aztecs in their ornamental adornments.
Legend And Lore
Many interesting beliefs and legends were created by the garnet, including:
• It was believed, during the Roman Empire, that the stone provided protection for travellers, by giving a warning of impending danger, by sparkling brightly.
• The stones were used by the Navajo Indians in Utah, America, as ornaments to bring protection and luck.
• In ancient times, the Chinese believed that the garnet was the souls of tigers that had died and been transformed into precious gems.
• The Crusaders used garnets to protect them against accidents and wounds during their travels.
• To ancient warriors, it was the garnet that brought them victory.
• Asian warriors thought that more severe wounds would be inflicted if red garnets were used as bullets.
• During hostilities on the Kashmir frontier in 1892, Hanza tribesmen used garnet
bullets rather than lead bullets to shoot at British soldiers, thinking that they would be more effective.
Garnets, just like many other precious stones, were also believed at one time, to have incredible medicinal powers. For example, people in medieval times believed that the stone would protect the wearer against bad dreams, poisons, wounds, and cure anxiety as well. Red garnets during those
times were used as a treatment to relieve fever, inflammatory illnesses, and haemorrhaging. It was also believed that if a garnet were held to the skin, it would cure medical issues like varicose veins, pancreatic problems, and arthritis.
Worn By Royalty
Before Prince William and Kate Middleton got engaged, she often wore a ring that contained a pearl and garnets, which, the press believed was a gift to her from Prince William. However, the ring was significant because the garnets in the ring where her birthstone, and the pearl is the June birthstone of Prince William.
Garnet – The January Birthstone And Anniversary Gift!
The stunning garnet gemstone, the birthstone for January, is believed to bring luck, loyalty, health, friendship, and love to everyone who is born in this month. Apart from the gemstone being the January birthstone, however, it is also a tradition for wedded couples to give to each other on their 2nd and 18th wedding anniversaries. The ideal gift for your loved one
Red is the colour that traditionally represents love, and the red garnet is an absolutely exquisite, sparkling gemstone that is exceptionally appealing to the eye. Compared to other red gems like pink tourmaline or rubies, the garnet is fairly affordable and a great way to start or add to a jewellery collection.
Garnet crystals are big and clear, and the perfect choice for eye-catching pieces of jewellery. There is little doubt that the garnet, the birthstone for January, will make an exceptionally thoughtful anniversary, birthday, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day, or Christmas gift for your loved one. Click Antique Garnet Jewellery to view our fine collection of Garnet jewellery