January Birthstone

Gorgeous Garnet

Let’s explore the January Birthstone: Garnet is the stone for people born in January, believed to bring friendship, loyalty and sincerity. Okay, we don’t want to rush you, but since it’s so close to Valentine’s Day, it’s the perfect choice for lovers since the stone is said to bring commitment and a stable marriage, and promises devotion and fidelity. It can also aid in finding true lovers. It ticks all the boxes for your perfect Valentine.

The garnet derived its name from the Latin word granatus, meaning granular, which refers to the crystals which resemble grains or seeds embedded in the stone. Some say the gemstone resembles a pomegranate with all its beautiful rich red seeds. Interestingly, many people think of the garnet as a red gemstone, but garnets exist in almost every colour.

Ancient warriors believed garnets brought victory and, during the Crusades, used them as protection during their journeys. In 1892, during hostilities on the Kashmir frontier, it is said that tribesmen fired on British soldiers with garnet bullets, as they were thought to cause more severe wounds. Garnet has been used as a gemstone for over 5 000 years, found in the jewellery of many Egyptian burials and was very popular in Ancient Rome.

The garnet group of stones contain seven major types: almandine, andradite, demantoid, grossularite, pyrope, spessartite and uvarovite stones. The garnet is durable and holds its brilliance for many years as it does not scratch or break easily.Red garnet gemstones (of the almandine and pyrope varieties) are very affordable and faceted into all types of jewellery, including necklaces, rings, bracelets and earrings. Round cabochons of red garnet are popular and are often used in rings and bracelets.

Jackie Kennedy Onassis owned a garnet cabochon set into a beautiful brooch in the shape of a flower. It reached over $100 000 at an auction.

Garnets can occur in every shade: red, orange, purple, brown, black, pink, yellow, green, blue and colourless. However, the blue garnet remains the rarest and the most fascinating. It was discovered more recently in Bekily, Madagascar and other deposits have been found in the US, Russia and Turkey. What makes the blue garnet so enticing is that its colour-changing properties, due to high amounts of the metal vanadium. In different light, the gem can change from a gentle sea green to a radiant purple. The most expensive blue garnet, at 4.2 carats, sold for $6.8 million in 2003.

In 1885, the underground discovery of the Subway Garnet or Kunz Garnet in New York caused a media frenzy. The size of a basketball, the garnet weighs about 4.5 kg and is roughly 40 cm in diameter. After its discovery, its notoriety faded and it was used as a doorstop for years before someone bought it and passed it on to the New York Mineralogical Club.

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