Birthstone

About the January Birthstone

by Haley Anhut
Posted January 21, 2021

Last updated on January 13, 2022

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, with the January birthstone being garnet. 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. But today, birthstones are often given as gifts, used for fashion pieces, and even engagement rings!

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

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. You may even see some in yellow or emerald green.

Garnet History

Deep red uncut and rough rhodolite garnet gemstone.

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 birthstone for January 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 stone! Garnets can be found in various regions worldwide, but Africa supplies much of the world’s supply.

Garnet Appearance

Orange spessartine garnet, beautiful natural orange color.

Most widely known for its deep red color, 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 garnets. And, while similar-looking, rubies have a much more brilliant red color.

Garnet Rarity

Close up of natural garnet gemstone.

The rarity of a garnet depends on the specific variety you have your eye on. 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 the January 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 is usually a lighter red, sometimes with a brownish tinge. Pyrope Garnets are and make for a beautiful garnet. These are ofter 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 garnet

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 engagement ring daily, you’ll need a gemstone that can stand up to daily wear.

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. 

How To Care For Garnet

All gemstones 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.

To clean your garnet 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. These beautiful gems come 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!