If you’re looking for a gift for a special someone born in January, the gorgeous garnet is your go-to. This ancient gemstone was once believed to give eternal happiness, health, wealth and good fortune to those who wear it. Less mystically, it’s known as the "Gem of Faith" and seen as a symbol of pure friendship. Regardless of what you believe, garnet makes a great gift for those born in January or for anyone you love and cherish.
Where Does the Name Garnet Come From?
Garnet comes from the 14th Century Middle English word for dark red, "gernet," which is derived from the Latin "granatum," for pomegranate, referring to the deep red, gem-like seeds of the fruit.
What Colors Does Garnet Come In?
Though January's birthstone is traditionally a rich red, garnet technically encompasses a variety of minerals in colors ranging from raspberry rhodolite and deep rust-red Pyrope to orange spessartite, brilliant green tsavorites and dark green demantoid. Their rarest iterations, however, are blue and transparent garnets. Garnets are found in Wyoming, Czech Republic, India, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Tanzania, Greece and Russia.
The History of Garnet Jewelry
The garnet is exceptionally durable, rating between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs scale. Given its strength, it’s no surprise the garnet has often been worn as a talisman, thought to protect during travel and battle.
Garnet’s decorative legacy can be traced as far back as 3100 B.C., when Egyptians, who said it was the symbol of life, used it in carvings, inlays and jewelry for Pharaohs. The gemstone was also popular among the 3rd and 4th century Romans where it was popularly used in signet rings needed to sign and seal documents. Victorians fancied opulent garnet clusters, evoking the gemstone’s pomegranate namesake.
How To Clean Garnet Jewelry
If you love deep red gemstones, garnet is an economical and easy-to-care-for alternative to rubies. Use warm, soapy water for simple cleaning or, as long as your gemstone is in good condition, an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner.