The Garnet, the modern birthstone of January, is found in a variety of colors including reds, greens, oranges, purples, and even some blue. It is a durable gemstone with a Mohs hardness of 6.5 – 7.5 (10.0 being the hardest: Diamonds)
The Garnet is a common and widespread group of gems found in Argentina, Brazil, Germany, India, Kenya, Madagascar, Mali, Namibia, Pakistan, Russia, Scandinavia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Tanzania just to name a few countries.
The Garnet is available in a variety of colors from green to purple to red. Some of which are very rare and sought after.
The most common garnet species used for January birthstone jewelry is the Pyrope. It has a
blood red color with few inclusions. It is mined mostly from South Africa. It can be faceted, made into cabochons or beads. Wildly popular in Bohemian jewelry, it maintains much of its deep red color even when set in jewelry.
The Tsavorite Garnet is one of the most rare species of garnet and was discovered in 1967. It is found only in Kenya and Tanzania. Because of chemical anomalies, it is rarely found in sizes larger than 2-3 carats. Gems in larger sizes fetch a much larger price tag. It is a deep Kelly green with a high luster and high refractive index which makes it sparkle!
The purple garnet, or Rhodolite Garnet, is also unusual. It has a brilliant bright violet-red color. Also rare, it can be found in Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Kenya.
The red garnet, Pyrope, dates back to Egyptian and Roman times and has been found in the tombs of Egypt’s pharaohs. In Rome, many signet rings were carved out of a Garnet and were used to stamp the wax seal on official documents.
It is commonly worn to help keep one grounded, to bring vitality and help dreams come true.
So, here’s to January’s birthstone, wear it in good health.