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January Birthstone: Everything You Need to Know

by Haley Anhut
Last updated on August 21, 2023

Birthstones are gems that are associated with the month that a person was born. Every month has a beautiful and unique gemstone, some of which you may be more familiar with than others, and the January birthstone is garnet. There’s no secondary January birthstone, though some months have one. Here, you will learn about the history of the garnet birthstone!

January Birthstone: Garnet

Traditionally, the January birthstone garnet is believed to bring good fortune and mental clarity to those who wore them. Some regard it as a good karma stone, associating it with good karma and good health. But today, birthstones are often given as gifts, used for fashion pieces, and even engagement rings!

Gemstones come in all different colors. While some such as red garnets are more popular than others, many can act as an excellent diamond jewelry alternative or accent stone to white diamonds for your engagement ring. Additionally, garnet jewelry can make a fantastic gift for anyone born in January.

Garnet jewelry pieces make great gifts, as garnet is a versatile gemstone. While garnet is a January birthstone, the deep red will complement those with a cooler skin tone while the garnets with orange or yellow tones may work better for those with warmer tones in their skin. Since this January birthstone color can vary quite a bit, there are many beautiful stones to choose from. They are most commonly red, though, so some more exotic variations may be more costly.

(Please note that the following message is intended for educational use only – we presently do not offer garnets. Take a look at our lab grown diamonds as a captivating alternative to conventionally mined ones.)

What Is a Garnet?

If you’re lucky enough to be born in January, your birthstone is garnet — a beautiful and typically dark red, sometimes reddish-orange colored stone. People often compare the color to that of a bright red pomegranate fruit. But not all garnets are red– you may even see some of these precious stones in yellow or emerald green.

Garnet History

Garnets were discovered in the Bronze Age and have been treasured for over 5000 years! In fact, ‘garnet,’ which is granatus in Latin, means “pomegranate,” which describes its color perfectly. Garnets have been used in jewelry pieces like necklaces since the times of ancient Egypt.

In the Middle Ages, deep red garnet jewelry was a favorite of nobility and clergy. This blood-red gemstone was also popular in the Victorian era when jewelry would feature this gem long before diamonds were in fashion.

According to ancient Indian astrology, the January birthstone garnet is believed to eliminate negative feelings and instead instill self-confidence and promote clarity of the mind and creative thinking. It is also thought to be a gemstone that will keep one safe while traveling.

Whatever symbolism you choose to believe, one thing is certain; garnet is a stunning gem! The garnet stone can be found in various regions worldwide, but Africa supplies much of the world’s supply.

Garnet Appearance

Most widely known as a deep red gemstone, garnets come in various other colors, making them unique! Orange, purple, black, green, and blue (although extremely rare) are all common colors for this gemstone. From the purple garnet with its royal plum color to the demantoid garnet with its vivid green color, there’s no doubt that garnets are a thing of beauty. Some garnets even come in color-changing varieties, where the stone will reveal different colors depending on the light. While appearing to look gray, the stone will then change to a purple hue when viewed under a different light! If your birthstone is garnet, but you’re not a fan of the red color, chances are there’s another garnet that has a color you’ll love!

Garnet Price

While garnet is most known for its red color, the range of colors available for this stone impacts the rarity, and thus, the price tag. Garnets are sometimes confused with rubies. However, rubies are much more rare and expensive than most garnets. And, while similar-looking, rubies have a much more brilliant red color.

Garnet Rarity

The rarity of a garnet depends on the specific variety you have your eye on. The major types include pyrope, almandine, spessartine, grossular, and andradite. Some can be much rarer and thus more expensive, such as the demantoid or tsavorite mentioned below. However, the popular deep red garnets are much more common. 

If you are looking for a more exotic version of January’s birthstone, you are in luck! There are many variations of garnet found at different locations. This birthstone for January has a long and storied history.

Pyrope Garnets

This version of the January birthstone garnet is usually a lighter red, but it is sometimes more of a brownish red. Pyrope garnets are and make for a beautiful garnet. These are often very clean with few inclusions.

Tsavorite Garnet

The tsavorite garnets are actually green gemstones! This garnet birthstone is sure to impress with its stunning emerald green color. Because of its popularity, this is one of the most expensive expressions of the January birthstone.

Tsavorite garnets are some of the rarest gemstones. January birthstone jewelry with this exquisite stone will set you back a bit. It is stunning and rare, so it may be worth the extra cost if you want unique garnet birthstone jewelry.

Demantoid Garnets

The demantoid garnet, for example, is one of the rarest and expensive types of garnet, with a price of around $1,000 per carat. A classic garnet will have a starting price of a few hundred dollars, but that price will change depending on the quality and size of the garnet. These beautiful gems were found in the Ural Mountains.

Garnet Engagement Rings

If you’re considering a diamond alternative, like a garnet, for the center stone of your engagement ring, we would advise against it. The reason is, although more affordable than a lab-grown diamond or a ruby, Garnets are a softer gemstone. If you plan on wearing your ring daily, you’ll need a gemstone that can stand up to daily wear. The garnet stone would also pair beautifully with a variety of metals, though yellow gold tends to be the most popular. You may sometimes see garnets in signet rings, which are typically yellow gold. 

According to the Mohs scale, which measures the hardness of minerals, a garnet has a hardness of around 6.5 – 7.5. A diamond, to compare, has a hardness of 10. Since garnets are softer gemstones, they can be easily scratched or damaged. However, garnets look great and will hold up longer for simple jewelry pieces such as earrings or necklaces or as an accent stone to your lab-grown diamond center stone. Garnet can be a great gift to someone celebrating a birthday in January or someone who simply loves the look! Clean Origin does not currently sell garnets, but they are easy to find through other online retailers. 

If you still want a diamond alternative that looks like a garnet, we would recommend the ruby. The ruby has a hardness of 9 and is much more durable than the garnet. The downside is that rubies are more expensive and rare. If you’re looking for something that is more pink than red, you might want to look into the light pink rose quartz. It’s even more affordable, too. 

How To Care For Garnet

Most precious gems require some level of care to keep the gem looking shiny, new, and in excellent condition. Because garnet is susceptible to scratches, be cautious when wearing this stone (if you choose to wear it often).

You should remove jewelry and rings that feature garnet when working with your hands, participating in high contact sports, or when you are more likely to hit or bump your stone against something.

Cleaning your garnet stones and other gemstone jewelry is very similar to cleaning a diamond. Use a soft toothbrush with warm soapy water and mild soap, and gently use a soft brush on the stone and setting

Why Choose Garnet Jewelry?

Garnet jewelry is stunning year-round. Remember that this versatile gem is as prized now as it was in the ancient times. This beautiful birthstone for January comes in various colors, from orange and yellow to green and deep red. Garnets have some of the broadest range of colors available of any gem. They look fantastic alongside diamonds and pearls. Though they are not as hard as diamonds, so be careful with daily wear.

Remember, even if you’re not born in January, you can still don a stunning garnet birthstone. Many brides choose stunning birthstones such as emeralds, rubies, and sapphires. It’s beautiful to have so many choices, and if you’re born in April, your birthstone is our personal favorite, the diamond– although we prefer them lab-grown!