A Guide to the January Birthstone: Garnet

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The January birthstone is the dazzling garnet. For the Egyptian pharaohs and Romans, garnets were a symbol of importance, nobility and protection, and to this day are used to add a touch of luxury and colour to jewellery. In this guide, we will be addressing some of the most frequently asked questions about the January birthstone. We'll cover:

What colour is the January birthstone?
What is the history behind the January birthstone?
What does the January birthstone mean?
Cleaning and caring for garnets

What colour is the January birthstone?

Garnets themselves get their name from the 14th century Middle English phrase 'gernet' which literally means 'dark red'. Gernet itself is probably derived from the Latin word 'granatum' (meaning 'containing many seeds') likely because of the dark red colour of pomegranate seeds.

Although the January birthstone is famous for its rich dark red form, garnets are available in a wide variety of colours including green, orange and purples, so are a beautiful and versatile gemstone.

What is the history behind the January birthstone?

The garnet industry dates back to Czechoslovakia in the 1500s, which quickly became the world's largest source of garnet gems until the 19th century. The discovery of other garnet colours, particularly that of the fiery orange spessartite garnet, helped make the gemstone one of the most popular on the market.

Garnets have been a central part of many cultures and beliefs, with Ancient Egyptians holding the belief that it was a symbol of life. It also held great importance for the Romans who used garnet intaglios to seal the wax of importance documents, while wise men thought it was capable of healing wounds and the Victorians wore it to signify high-class. Garnets have even been claimed to be the only provision of light on Noah's Ark, again showing its historical importance.  

Since its first appearance, the garnet gemstone has maintained its popularity, appearing in many pieces of modern jewellery to provide a pop of exciting colour and a touch of luxury. This makes it a great stone for anybody to wear, even if your birthday is in a month other than January!

What does the January birthstone mean?

According to folklore, the meaning of the garnet stone is to bring peace, prosperity and health to the wearer, with some references to it being the 'gem of faith' to bring good to those who wear it and do good themselves. In medieval times, it was also believed to protect against bad dreams and to help fight liver diseases and other health problems, while Greek mythology associates it with eternal love. This is why garnets are traditionally gifted for marriage anniversaries.

If you're looking for a career boost, the January birthstone is also supposedly able to help with this, too. Many people believe it can bring business success, tying into the traditional associations it has with prosperity, so it could make a great present for those January babies who are beginning a new venture.  

Garnet stones are also associated with long-lasting friendship, so even if your loved one isn't born in January, garnet jewellery is still a popular choice for sentimental gifts that can be cherished.

Here, at Ramsdens, we have a stunning range of garnet jewellery that is sure to make the perfect present, whether they're born in January or not!

How to clean and care for garnets

The strength and durability of garnets sits at around a 6.5–7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they are durable enough for use in any piece of jewellery, so long as they are cleaned and cared for properly.

Garnets tend to be able to withstand light and chemicals, however to be on the safe side we would always advise cleaning your garnets in warm soapy water and drying them off with a lint-free cloth. If you're working over any sinks, remember to plug these so your jewellery doesn’t fall down the drain!

All items of precious jewellery should be stored safely away in a padded box that's lined with lint-free material to preserve the condition of your gems.

Find a thoughtful gift for the Capricorn or Aquarius in your life with a beautiful piece of garnet jewellery here at Ramsdens. We have garnet necklacesearringsbracelets and more, so you're sure to find something to impress your loved one with.

Want to know more about any of our products? Don't hesitate to contact us or visit us at your nearest branch. Or, to find out more about the other birthstones and to get more jewellery inspiration, don't forget to check out our knowledge hub and blog.

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