January - Garnet

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“By her who in this month (January) is born
No gem save garnets should be worn;
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship, and fidelity.” 

As many people know, January is named after the Roman God Janus, who had two faces. One looking behind to the past year; one looking forward to the future. It seems apt then, that although January’s babies have only one gemstone for their birthstone, it is actually available in many colours and has numerous industrial uses.

Cinebling Birthstone Blog January Garnet Pieces

The name garnet is derived from the Greek word ‘granatum’ meaning pomegranate seed. Garnets are widely known for their deep red colour, but they also appear in every colour except blue. Garnet is also one of the most plentiful and durable precious gems. If your birthday is in January, consider yourself lucky to have a birthstone that is hardy enough to be worn, and that also comes in a choice of beautiful colours. 

Garnets have been said to represent love when presented as a gift, and in ancient times were rumoured to protect the wearer during travel. They were also exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to ensure that they met again – perhaps this is where the connection to travel comes in. 

Like Diamonds, Garnets are formed under high pressure and temperature, and are also graded by the famous Four C’s: Colour, Cut, Clarify and Carat (weight). They have two sub-groups, which give them different mineral properties, and more specifically there are seven overall groups of stone types. Garnets and diamonds are often found together in clusters when mined, and garnet is sometimes used as a ‘geological indicator’ to those hunting for diamonds. 

Garnet Variations
Thousands of years ago, red garnets adorned Egyptian Pharaohs, and Romans used them as signet rings to seal important documents. In the 1500s there was a discovery of garnet deposits which served jewellery until the late 1800s.

Around the mid-1800s, the Russians discovered green (demantoid) garnets in the Ural Mountains. This particular type of garnet has a higher dispersion (that gives a gem its sparkle) than diamonds, and are highly valued. Czar Nicholas II commissioned his artists to create garnet jewellery for his wife, and Carl Faberge’s pieces for the Russian royal family also included green garnets. 

Garnet is believed to aid blood, heart and lungs and is thought to promote romantic love, passion, sensuality, and intimacy. So, if you thought that your January birthstone was dull and unassuming, think again!

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