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Garnet is the birthstone for January. The garnet birthstone is believed to provide its wearer with good health, wealth, and happiness and symbolizes friendship and trust. It is often brilliant red, but also found in purple, orange, yellow, and green. Some garnet stones even change from blue to purple depending on the lighting. 

The symbolism of garnet has varied with time. In ancient and medieval times, people believed it to soothe an angry heart and remedy inflammatory diseases. Indian astrology pointed to garnet as a gem that could relieve depression, guilt, and other negative feelings; promote peace of mind; and spur self-confidence, mental clarity, and creative thinking.

The Origins of Garnet

The name of this gem is derived from the medieval Latin word granatum, which translates to “pomegranate”, and gernet, a Middle English term meaning “dark red”. In the Bronze Age, garnets were used as gemstones and abrasive tools. Pharaohs in ancient Egypt wore necklaces studded with red garnets. Garnets were even preferred by clergy and nobility in the Middle Ages.

What Is Garnet? 

Although they’re collectively called garnet, several different minerals are found in the gem. These include pyrope, almandine, andradite, grossular, and spessartine. Color is determined by the presence and quantity of each mineral. Grossular comes in a wide range of colors and some are even colorless. Almandine and pyrope range from purple to red while andradite is usually yellow or green. Orange and yellow colors in garnet come from spessartine.

Where Does Garnet Come From?

Garnet is found in many regions of the world. In Victorian times, red pyrope garnets were sourced from Bohemia. Russians obtained green demantoid garnets from the Ural Mountains in the 19th century. Most garnet comes from Africa today, including from Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Madagascar, but it’s also found in Brazil, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, and Iran.

How to Care for a Garnet Birthstone

Garnets require a more careful touch than gems like sapphires, rubies, and diamonds. A range of 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale means it is softer than these popular gems. Garnet, although not always ideal for daily wear, is suited for many types of earrings, pendants, and brooches. If worn with a diamond or sapphire gem, garnet can be easily scratched.

Treated garnet stones require more care than non-treated ones. While most garnets aren’t treated, in rare cases they are fracture-filled to improve clarity. Surface breaks may be filled with a glass-like substance, which can be fragile.

Garnets can be cleaned with a soft brush and warm soapy water. These are safe to use without damaging the stone, while ultrasonic cleaners can be used as well, except for fracture-filled or fractured stones. 

Finding the Perfect Garnet Birthstone 

When shopping for a garnet stone, you want to look at its:

  • Color: Garnet’s color is influenced by the variety of minerals found in it, which are described above.
  • Clarity: Refers to the inclusions in the stone. Red garnets usually don’t have visible inclusions, while orange garnets often do.
  • Cut: Much of the time, garnets are cut into standard shapes and sizes for setting, particularly red garnets.
  • Carat Weight: Sizes and weights vary greatly; almandine is more common in larger sizes while demantoid or tsavorite are rarer in larger forms.

Order Custom Jewelry from Jeweler’s Touch

Our professional jewelers can handcraft custom jewelry with diamonds and a range of other gems, including garnet and other birthstones. For information on our design services and financing, contact Jeweler’s Touch today at 714-266-3932.


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