January Birthstone: A Guide To Garnet

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What better way to start the new year than with a luxurious piece of garnet jewelry. January’s birthstone, famous for its rich color, has enough style to last the whole year! Read on to learn all about this glorious gemstone.

January birthstone jewelry

What Is The January Birthstone?

Garnet is the gloriously red gemstone that makes up January’s birthstone. Made up of a group of minerals, garnets come in a variety of colors, including the famous red (see more below). While the largest source of garnets today is Africa, the gemstone can also be found in India, Russia, and Central and South America.

The name Garnet has a multi-storied origin. The name can be traced to the Latin word for pomegranate, mirroring the rich red hue of the fruit’s delicious seeds. The name we know today derives from the 14th-century middle English word meaning dark red.

The Symbolism and Meaning of Garnet

The January birthstone is thought to symbolize perseverance, strength, loyalty, and friendship. Many believe that garnets have protective and calming qualities, and can even act as a dream catcher.

But wait, there’s more! It is also thought to bring health, wealth, and even happiness. Some even call it the energizer gemstone because it is believed to balance your energy.

What Color is the January Birthstone?

The Different Shades Of Garnet

While garnets are known for their intense red color, this gemstone actually comes in a variety of shades. From warm oranges to calm blues, and even greens, this gemstone actually has an eclectic color palette. The different colors of garnets can range from intense to opaque, depending on the gemstone’s light transmission.

A Brief History of the January Birthstone

Garnet has been popular for centuries. Dating all the way back to ancient Egypt, where the pharaohs would be entombed with their valuables, including garnet jewelry. People in ancient times are also said to have believed that garnets could restore relationships. Crusaders may have believed the gemstone could help keep them safe, and even guide them to victory.

Some even believe that garnet dates back to biblical times, with the legend that Noah used a garnet lantern to illuminate his ark. Garnets also show up in Greek mythology, where the gemstone is associated with faith and light.

After garnets were discovered in larger quantities around 1500, royal houses across Europe hopped on the garnet bandwagon.

Understanding Garnet’s Sensitivity and Fragility

Moh Scale

Garnets are considered quite durable, rating between 6.5 and 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness. This makes garnets a great choice for everyday wear, but take care if you are on the clumsier side, you should still avoid being rough with your gemstone.

Practical Tips for Cleaning and Preserving Garnet Jewelry

Make sure to follow the tips below to keep your January birthstone jewelry shining all year long.

  • Fill a bowl with warm water
  • Add gentle dish soap
  • Soak in water
  • Use a soft-bristled brush to remove any debris
  • Wipe off jewelry using a clean, wet cloth
  • Allow to air dry
  • Other options:
    • Use an ultrasonic cleaner as long as your garnet has no fractures
    • NEVER steam clean
  • Store your garnet pieces in soft fabric jewelry boxes or bags

What Are the Other January Birthstones?

In addition to garnet, rose quartz is a birthstone for January. Known for its cotton candy pink color, this secondary birthstone is thought to bring the wearer a sense of contentment and love.

Similar to garnet, usage of rose quartz dates back centuries. It is believed that in ancient Egypt and Rome, women used rose quartz for skin care purposes.

FAQs

Why is Garnet the birthstone for January? 

Just as January marks the beginning of a new year, pomegranate seeds represent birth and renewal. The connection garnets have to pomegranates make it the perfect stone to represent January.

Are there two birthstones for January?

Yes, in addition to garnet, rose quartz is a birthstone for January.

Is January a ruby or garnet birthstone?

The main birthstone for January is garnet. Rubies are the birthstone for July.

Who should not wear red garnet?

While we think everyone should rock this glorious gemstone, some believe that certain zodiac signs (Aries, Taurus, or Leo) should avoid wearing this birthstone.

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With over 10 years of experience writing and editing on a wide variety of subjects, Sarah is a veteran of the content world. Since joining James Allen, she has focused on all things diamonds and fine jewelry with the goal of educating and empowering consumers.

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