Garnet the January Birthstone – History and Folklore

Garnet the January Birthstone

Garnet the January birthstone, is also associated with the 2nd and 18th anniversary, so would make a very nice jewelry gift without being too expensive for anyone on a budget..

The name “Garnet” actually means “Pomegranite”, originating from the medieval Latin word granatus in reference to the red color.

Garnet comes in a variety of shades, it can range from purples to reds, oranges and yellows, yellows to greens. Since garnet is actually a combination of several different minerals.

You may already be familiar with the Tsavorite garnet often used in jewelry today, which is a strong vibrant green color.

Red and purple varieties are Pyrope and Almandine, where as Spessartine is predominantly oranges and yellows. The yellow green variety used in jewelry is the demantoid garnet.

Example of an Almandine Garnet
Almandine Garnet – More details from the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History

The use of garnets in jewelry goes all the way back to the Bronze age, ancient Egypt and Rome also favored garnets in necklaces.

Romans also used garnet in rings that were used to stamp wax as a seal on important documents.

During the middle ages, the clergy and nobility had a particular liking for red garnets.

Below is a gold and garnet necklace example from 100-1 B.C. housed at the Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian American Art Museum though not on display.

Garnet Necklace from 100-1 B.C.
More info from the Smithsonian available here

How to buy a Garnet

Garnets are very affordable although depending on the color you choose, the rarer greens and blues will be more expensive.

Garnet gemstone is a natural gemstone, but is also lab created. Some natural garnet gemstones will have inclusions, for example, demantoid garnet will often include “horsetails” but this give them a unique look.

Lab created gemstones are often very clear and will not usually have inclusions. Your jeweler should know and provide information about what type of gemstone you are looking at.

For both natural and synthetic stones, look at how the garnet reacts under light, the color should be intense and saturated.

As with diamonds, the clarity and cut can affect the beauty of the gemstone.

Meaning and Symbolization of Garnets

As a birthstone, garnet is said to bring love, luck, health and loyalty to those born in January.

Spiritually, garnet is a stone of higher thinking and self-empowerment, but also linked to strength and safety. Associated with prosperity and abundance, encouraging gratitude and service to others.

Garnet Birthstone Bracelet
Garnet Birthstone Bracelet available from Lululilyjewelry

Birthstone Poems

Stuck for a special birthday gift, take a look at our colorful Gregorian Birthstone poems which center around the traditional birthstone as indicated in the Gregorian calendar.

These poems are of “unknown author”. Tiffany’s first printed them in a leaflet back in 1870. These are printables and can be framed to suit individual taste.

These are a new item, so not all birthday months are available as yet, please check back regularly, or sign up for our newsletter (you will not be spammed). More details can be found here