January Birthstone: Garnet
This month’s birthstone is garnet. Garnets are durable and available in a broad price range, which makes them a great choice for any taste.
Garnets held great value throughout many time periods. For example, this January birthstone has been around since the Bronze Age, ancient Egyptian pharaohs were adorned with red garnet necklaces, and garnet was the preferred gemstone of the clergy and nobility of the Middle Ages.
The history of garnet dates back to the Nile Delta in 3100 B.C., where Egyptians considered it as the symbol of life and used the gemstone as inlays in their jewelry and carvings. Garnet was also used as signet rings in ancient Rome and was very popular with Romans in the third and fourth centuries.
This January birthstone was also used as a talisman for protection by warriors going into battle and those who wanted to ward off the plague and pestilence. Many ancient healers even placed garnet in wounds and thought it had powerful healing powers. There were many different magical properties that garnet was thought to possess. For example, in centuries past many believed garnet was able to light up the night and offer protection from nightmares. Late night travelers carried garnet to protect themselves when far from home.
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This birthstone has many different sources, including Madagascar, Brazil, Iran, India, and Pakistan, among other countries. However, today the continent of Africa supplies most of the world’s garnet.
Garnets are more susceptible to damage than rubies, sapphires, and diamonds. Therefore, this January birthstone is ideal for earrings, brooches, and pendants. It is also the gemstone for the second wedding anniversary.
Garnets can come in a wide range of colors, including green, orange, pinkish orange, and even blue. The most common color of garnet is red, ranging from rust-colored to deep violet red. The rarest kinds of garnet are colorless or color changing in different lighting. The rarest and most expensive kind of garnet is the Mandarin garnet, which is a vivid orange color.