Colorful Garnets, Birthstone for January
Posted on 01 January 2017
January’s birthstone is the bold and beautiful garnet that brings good luck to those who receive it as a gift.
The deep red transparent stones we normally associate with gemstone quality garnets are called Almandine. However, garnet comes in many different colors including green, known as Demantoid and Tsavorite; orangy red called Hessonite; and pinkish red known as Rhodolite. the Rhodolite is the most valuable of the red garnets.
The name “garnet” comes from the Latin “granatum,” meaning seed, derived from the garnet’s similarity to the seeds of the pomegranate. The 14th century Middle English word “gernet” means “dark red.”
Garnets were the most widely used gemstones in Europe during the Bronze Age and the early Middle Ages. Many important artifacts including jewelry, ornaments, and weapons crafted with garnet inlay have been found in ancient burial sites and in Anglo-Saxon treasure troves.
Garnets have been popular in jewelry design throughout the ages, including the Victorian, Edwardian and Art Deco eras. The red garnet was said to be one of Queen Victoria’s favorite gemstones. A garnet-eyed serpent engagement ring was given to her by Prince Albert.
The Victorians thought the garnet symbolized passion and believed it could cure depression.