All about Garnets – January Birthstone
If you were born in January, your birthstone is a garnet! This stone is also used for a second wedding anniversary. Here’s everything you need to know about this gemstone.
Garnets have nine species; however the most common color associated with it is dark red. The ‘red’ name is derived from the Greek work pyropos meaning “fire-like”. Early scientists gave garnet its name due to its likeness in the rock crystal to red pomegranate seeds. It comes from the Latin word granatum meaning “seed-like”.
The birthstones initially represented each tribe of Israel, but was modernized in 1912 by the Jewelers of America.
Garnets were discovered in Egypt around 3100 B.C. and were often used in beads and inlaid jewelry. In ancient times it was thought their light could shine through a pocket. Some theologians believed Noah used a garnet to light up the ark. In the 18th and 19th centuries, garnets were quite popular in Europe and were sold as souvenir gems. The deep red garnets were mined in the areas known as Bohemia and Czechoslovakia (Eastern Europe). Garnets are also mined in Pakistan, Madagascar, South Africa, Brazil, Tanzania, Canada and the United States.
Garnets come in every color of the rainbow and display incredible brilliance due to their single refraction. They are not treated to enhance color. Tsavorite is a variety of green garnet and is rarer than red garnets. Due to the rareness, it commands a higher cost in the marketplace. Tsavorite was originally discovered in Tanzania in 1968 and also Kenya. Promoters from Tiffany & Co. named it after Kenya’s Tsavo National Park.
Garnets are a 6½-7½ on Mohs Hardness Scale and are best cleaned with warm, soapy water and a soft brush. Sudden hot temperatures of steam cleaners can cause fractures making them not recommended for cleaning. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe.
Garnets are a wonderful choice for a bright colored gemstone, especially with its great price!