Garnet is a glittering red gem that also happens to be the birthstone for January. Both abundant and affordable, garnet actually refers to a group of minerals with a similar chemical composition. The most common types of garnet include almandine, andradite, spessartine, and pyrope, among others. Each of these variations has a unique appearance that makes them incredibly attractive for use in jewelry. With such diversity, and a storied history as vibrant as its color, it’s no wonder garnet is so well-loved. For extra insight into this incredible gemstone, keep reading to discover more fascinating January birthstone facts!
Garnets have been cherished since the Bronze Age, revered for their deep color and durability. Evidence of their illustriousness can be found in countless cultures, dating as far back as the biblical era. Necklaces adorned with garnets were worn by ancient Egyptian pharaohs, and the wealthy nobility of the Victorian era were particularly partial to these rich red gems. According to the Jewish Talmud, Noah’s ark was lit by a single garnet stone. Regarded as a Warrior’s Stone during the Middle Ages, garnet was worn as a talisman by Christian crusaders, ensuring safety and protection over long journeys.
Garnet is a fairly durable gemstone, and can last a lifetime when cared for properly. With a rating of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, garnet is an ideal gemstone for jewelry. Only those items with a higher Mohs rating will scratch the surface of garnet. That being said, jewelry like earrings and pendants will be less susceptible to damage than say a garnet ring, which will encounter more wear and tear.
Unlike other gemstones, garnets are generally sold without any additional treatments. Most naturally occurring garnets are saturated enough in color, that further gemstone treatments are not necessary. Occasionally, garnets are fracture filled, which simply means that any surface scratches are smoothed over with a glass-like substance.
To clean your garnet jewelry, use a soft bristled brush and a bit of warm soapy water to gently remove dirt and buildup. Avoid steam cleaners, and be cautious of ultrasonic cleaners if your stone has been fracture filled.
Garnet Meaning & Symbolism
The name garnet is derived from the Latin word granatus, which means seeds or grains. The name was likely given because garnets closely resemble the tiny red seeds you’d find in a pomegranate. Garnet is said to symbolize long lasting love and friendship, and according to Greek mythology, can ensure the safe reunion of two parted lovers. In the Medieval period, garnet was worn to ward off nightmares. Some well-known attributes of garnet include passion, fidelity, loyalty, devotion, consistency, and truth. Wearing garnet is said to sharpen one’s self-perception, as well as their understanding of others.
Garnet Healing Properties
Throughout history, garnet has been associated with various healing practices. The gem’s intense red color has been compared to that of blood, which is why they’ve been used for treating different blood and inflammatory diseases. They’re also helpful in ridding your body of harmful toxins that can result in illness. Garnet has also been used as a tool to treat depression, break old habits and patterns, and to jolt the heart to encourage introspection and self-awareness.
Garnet jewelry makes a superb gift for celebrating a friendship, a January birthday, or a 2nd wedding anniversary. When purchasing garnet jewelry, there are a few things you should keep in mind. First, garnets come in a range of colors other than red, including green, pink, and even blue. While garnet is fairly affordable, unusual colors are rarer, and therefore more expensive.
Some garnets have inclusions that are thought to actually enhance the stone’s beauty, like “horsetails” that occur in demantoid garnets, or the “turbulent” appearance of hessonite garnets. Don’t be instantly deterred by these inclusions, as they only add to the gem’s uniqueness and charm.
If you’re shopping for antique jewelry, be aware that some pieces contain a dark red glass that was used in place of garnet. In these cases, it’s best to have the item tested for authenticity before finalizing your purchase.
Shop Gorgeous Garnet Jewelry in San Diego
Curious where you can find splendid garnet jewelry for the perfect price? Your search is over! At Leo Hamel Fine Jewelers, we carry a wide selection of gorgeous gemstone jewelry from sapphire to garnet, and everything in between. Our offering includes pieces that are new, vintage, and even antique, so there’s never any shortage of options. Whether you’re looking for something trendy and up-to-date, or prefer a piece that’s more timeless and traditional, you’re sure to find something you love at Leo’s!