Garnet - the many colours of the January birthstone

Garnet - the many colours of the January birthstone

Treasured for centuries for its beauty and durability, garnet is the birthstone for January. I’m sure you instantly think of a rich deep red gemstone but did you know that garnets come in a variety of colours?

Most commonly red, the name “garnet” originates from the medieval Latin granatus meaning “pomegranate”, but the garnet is in fact a family of minerals which comes in many shades. From bohemian garnet which is the deepest red, rich greens of the demantoid and tsavorite garnets, spessartite and hessonite are yellows, oranges, and browns, whilst pinks come from rhodolite garnet. There is even melanite which is a type of black garnet - it is certainly a gemstone with colour options.


Often associated with protection, we can find garnets in jewellery as far back as the Bronze Age (3000 BC) adorning the pharaohs of Egypt and taken with them in their tombs into the afterlife.

Viking swords were also sometimes adorned with the red garnet, again to protect and to increase fighting prowess.

If you love a bit of history and swoon at craftsmanship then I would definitely recommend having a look at the Staffordshire Hoard. The garnets, with gold, are amazing - see it online here.

Today garnet is often still considered by some to be a protective gemstone, to guard against negativity, bad dreams and to bring strength, prosperity and abundance.

Other symbolic uses for garnet include it being the hour stone for 11am, the gemstone to celebrate a 2nd wedding anniversary, the gem of the sacral chakra and it’s even the official gemstone of New York.

With so much symbology, it is a wonderful gem to weave into your story, and I’m always delighted to make bespoke pieces using garnets - like these gorgeous stacking birthstone rings containing 4 garnet colours.

In practical terms, garnets have a hardness rating of 7 - 7.5 on the Mohs scale (out of 10), making them a great choice for everyday wear. They are commonly cut into brilliant, oval, cushion, or cabochon shapes and can be found in many sizes.

Garnets can be cleaned in an ultrasonic as long as they have no cracks or faults but its best just to clean them with warm soapy water, and always avoid steam cleaning.

With so many historic and mythological tales surrounding garnet, it is an intriguing gem and a beautiful wonder of nature, a perfect enduring treasure to add to your story, and I have created a downloadable guide for you, just click the image here.

And if you’d like to chat about incorporating garnet or any gemstone into a meaningful piece of jewellery, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Best wishes,

Mel xo






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