Garnet: January's Birthstone

Top: Pyrope garnet. Left: Hessonite garnet. Right: Rhodolite garnet

 

Garnet, the birthstone for January, signifies eternal friendship and trust and is the perfect gift for a friend. Garnet, derived from the word granatum, means seed, and is called so because of the gemstone’s resemblance to a pomegranate seed. References to the gemstone dates back to 3100 B.C., when the Egyptians used garnets as inlays in jewelry. Garnet is the name of a group of minerals that comes in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red of the pyrope garnet to the vibrant green of tsavorites. Today, the most important sources for garnet are Africa, Sri Lanka, and India.  – American Gem Society

Garnet:  The most common and well known garnet is a deep red color. Until very recently, it was thought that garnets come in almost every color except blue. However, in the 1990’s, a blue garnet was discovered in Bekily, Madagascar and a color-change garnet was also discovered in Kenya exhibiting the same color-change as the finest alexandrites.

Another rare garnet is the demantoid garnet which is a vivid green. It has a high refractive index and displays dispersion like diamonds. In fact, the word demantoid roughly translates from Dutch to mean diamond-like. A versatile gemstone with a hardness of 7.5 to 8, garnets can be used in almost any type of jewelry and can be worn daily without too much worry.