January Birthstone: The Garnet

We’re starting off 2015 by talking about the January birthstone, garnet.  Garnet is one of the oldest known gemstones and was worn thousands of years ago by the Egyptians, Romans and even mentioned in The Bible.  According to the Old Testament, Noah lit the inside of the Ark with a garnet.  Garnets were also used to ward off nightmares and believed to heal the broken bonds of lovers. However, it also had practical uses like addressing problems relating to inflammation, circulation, and the heart.

January Birthstone Garnet


In addition, most recognized for its common deep red variety. People are often surprised to learn that garnets come in a wide range of colors. You can find garnet gemstones in shades of red, orange, green and yellow.  Some garnets even exhibit a color change phenomenon. Looking a certain color in daylight and a different color in incandescent light.

This January birthstone has many varieties, the rhodolite garnet, also happens to be the same shade of purplish-red as 2015’s Pantone Color of the Year, marsala.  Its unique color provides a wide variety of shades, from a dusty rose to deep reddish-purple. Rhodolite garnet is one of many of our own jewelers’ favorite stones. Here are our current rhodolite favorites:

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January Birthstone Care

Garnet ranges between 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness depending on the variety.  However, only stones that have a hardness rating higher than 6.5-7.5 will be able to scratch it. They have fair to good toughness, making them durable enough for all jewelry styles as long as they are treated with the proper care. Garnets should not be subjected to any hard blows or rough wear. Garnets are stable to light and chemicals. They can be attacked by hydrofluoric acid. Warm soapy water is always safe for cleaning garnets. Therefore, ultrasonic cleaner is usually safe except for stones that have fractures. Similarly, steam cleaning is not recommended.

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