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January Birthstone


What’s the January birthstone?

Unlike December, where there are four birthstones, the January birthstone is a single stone: the garnet.  January birthstone

But—surprise—on the bright side, the garnet comes in a variety of colors. Most people think of garnet as a deep red stone (which it is as shown in the picture on the right).

Red garnets have a long history, but modern gem buyers can pick from a rich palette of garnet colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, and even some blues. But not all garnets are as abundant as the red ones. A green garnet, tsavorite, is rarer and needs rarer rock chemistries and conditions to form.  The variety of garnets is shown in the photo below. To learn more about the Garnet, its history, myths and varieties go to the encyclopedia of gems. It is published by GIA, an authority on everything gem.

A brief history of the Garnet (source: GIA educational site)

Thousands of years ago, red garnet necklaces adorned the necks of Egypt’s pharaohs, and were entombed with their mummified corpses as prized possessions for the afterlife. In ancient Rome, signet rings with carved garnets were used to stamp the wax that secured important documents.The term carbuncle was often used in ancient times to refer to red garnets, although it was used for almost any red stone. Carbuncle was thought to be one of the four precious stones given to King Solomon by God.

Centuries later, in Roman scholar Pliny’s time (23 to 79 AD), red garnets were among the most widely traded gems. In the Middle Ages (about 475 to 1450 AD), red garnet was favored by clergy and nobility.

Red garnet’s availability increased with the discovery of the famous Bohemian garnet deposits in central Europe around 1500. This source became the nucleus of a regional jewelry industry that reached its peak in the late 1800s. Browse our jewelry collection by going to our website.

5 thoughts on “January Birthstone

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