January’s Garnet Burns with Passion


The birthstone for January is the garnet, a simple sounding Stone, but one that truly outshines others. These gems are most commonly red in color, but can also be found in green (demantoid or tsavorite), orange to yellow (spessartite), black, and transparent. The range of reds is also quite wide, ranging from purple (rhodolite) to pink and back again.
Centuries of Elegant Jewelry
Garnet is from the Latin word “granatum” which means pomegranate and one look at these beautiful jewels tells you why. They really do resemble the gem-like seeds of the pomegranate, bright red in color. Garnet has been found from periods as distant as 3100 BC, when Egyptians set the red jewels into their jewelry. Romans were also fans of the stone.
In medieval times, warriors used garnet as protection and to help them gain victory, while garnet bullets were used by the Chinese and the Japanese. The last recorded use of garnet bullets was in 1892, when Hanza soldiers used them against the British.
More Than Just a Pretty Rock
Garnets have been the center of many myths and ideas, but one of the more persistent beliefs was that the stone had special powers when it came to healing and protection. Warriors from several different cultures have used the gems as protection against wounds in battle and Native Americans believed that they were also useful against poison, fevers and inflammation.
These days, we focus on garnet more as a thing of beauty. It is a stone that represents happiness and long lasting love, making it the ideal stone to give to a loved one. These gems are found around the world, including the United States, South America, Spain, Asia, India and Australia.
Choosing and Caring for Garnet Jewelry
When purchasing your garnet jewelry, be sure to check the quality. Garnet comes in a wide range of purities, including a fairly low level that is used in sandpaper to give it better grit. For obvious reasons, you’ll want to go for a higher quality, which can be more difficult to find, due to its rarity. The stone should be clear to the naked eye, unless you have a demantoid garnet which has horsetail inclusions or fuzzy lines within.
Cuts include the usual gemstone options, including emerald, round, cushion, oval, princess, marquise and pear, among others. The cut will depend on the best use of the stone in the chosen setting.
Garnets are very resistant. The hardness is such that they don’t chip easily, though you may wish to keep them away from other jewelry to avoid damaging softer stones. Use warm soapy water and a toothbrush to scrub any dirt away, or your jeweler can clean them using the ultrasound method.
For anyone who celebrates a birthday in January or who simply likes the bright red gem, garnet is the perfect choice for a gift. From earrings to pendants and rings, this stone shines above many duller stones and offers a range of colors to light up the winter months.
Come visit us at Romantique and see the garnet jewelry or let us create a one of a kind item for you.