If you’re fond of red jewels and are January born, nothing is more pertinent for you than the alluring January birthstone Garnet. The term Garnet is derived from the Latin name Granatum which means a pomegranate owing to the resemblance of the stone’s varieties to the seeds of that fruit. Being one of the twelve stones of the breastplate of the high priest, Garnet is a sacred stone of the Native American Indians, the South American Indians, the Aztecs, the African tribal elders, and the Mayans. To know more about this spectacular January birthstone, read ahead.
What is Garnet, a popular January birthstone?
Lucky are those who have this bright red stone as their birthstone. Garnet is a group of silicate minerals having an isometric crystal system from the Bronze age. It is used both as a gemstone and abrasive. Although commonly found in a red hue, other color shades like orange, yellow, blue (rarest of all), purple, and green are equally popular among the buyers looking for this alluring January birthstone. Some stones are even known for their color-changing ability under different lighting, say, from blue to green. This January birthstone is a group of several minerals, five of which are:
- Pyrope: Color ranges from purple to red.
- Almandine: Color ranges from purple to red.
- Spessartine: Popular in orange and yellow shades.
- Grossular: Color ranges from colorless to yellow and from reddish-orange to orangy red.
- Andradite: Color changes from yellow to green.
Where is garnet found?
Garnet is found in abundance in various parts of the world, especially in its base form. The most precious and expensive species of the January birthstone, Demantoid is mined in Russia and Namibia & Tsavorite is found in abundance in Kenya and Tanzania. You can locate the pinkish-red rhodolite stones in India and Sri Lanka while the Mandarin garnets in Namibia. As a whole, the top originators of garnet are Australia, the US, India, and China.
Is Garnet treated?
No, Garnets are one among those several gemstones that are never treated apart from the standard cutting and polishing a stone usually goes through. Though there is a rumor that the Demantoid from Russia is heat-treated for enhancement in its color and clarity, it’s a MYTH. This goes on the fact that although the stone goes through heat treatment, the temperature is kept very low and isn’t detectable in any lab. So, you can consider the stone to be untreated.
How to care for a garnet stone?
Garnets ranks anywhere between 6.5 to 7.5 on the Mohs hardness scale. So, the stone needs to be properly handled and cared for. A warm soapy chemical-free solution with a soft brush forms an ideal combination for this January birthstone’s cleaning just like other gems. You can also use an ultrasonic cleaner but be careful as strong vibrations can loosen the jewelry settings and harm the stone.
Ensure that after cleaning the stone with clean water, wipe it with a soft cloth as air drying will affect the garnet’s sparkle. Moreover, it’s advisable to store your garnet stones and jewelry in a separate fabric-lined jewelry box in a cool & dry location. Another option to try is an acid-free paper envelope called a parcel paper envelope or diamond paper to keep multiple stones together in a parcel paper organizer box.
How to verify the authenticity of the January birthstone, Garnet?
Garnets are available in all sizes, from the size of a pea to that of an apple. Similarly, this January birthstone is accessible at different prices, from affordable to very expensive. So, you should be careful while investing in a garnet, especially if it costs you a lot. For this, here’s what you can do.
- Put the stone close to your eye and direct to any source of light (approx. 2 meters away). If you can see a rainbow with prominent shades of yellow and green, your January birthstone is authentic. Else, no.
- With Mohs hardness of 7, any steel blade or nail should not be able to scratch it. If it does, it’s a FAKE garnet.
These are merely tests. Don’t rely on these always, rather emphasize more the importance of a trusted seller when buying such expensive stones.
Can a Garnet change its color?
Although a few January birthstones can change their coloring under different sources of light like sunlight or artificial light, this phenomenon is limited to only a CERTAIN piece and not all. Those who exhibit this property may appear bright red under sunlight and shift to a green hue when taken out to another light source. The best example of such a gemstone is the Garnet from Madagascar whose color changes dramatically from blue to pink when hurried from one light source to another.
What does the January birthstone symbolize?
Garnet is one of the oldest and prized gemstones ever and has been consistent in jewelry making. It symbolizes prosperity and abundance, encourages gratitude and service to others.
How is a ruby different from a Garnet?
Yes, sometimes it’s quite confusing to pick which one is the ruby or Garnet, here’s how to be accurate in this. If your stone exhibits mild orange or other earthy tones besides red, it’s more likely to be Garnet. If not, it’s a ruby.
Is Garnet expensive?
It completely depends upon the 4Cs of your chosen stone. While a stone with minute inclusions will cost anything close to $500, be ready to spend $2,000 to $7,000 for a perfectly flawless one. Moreover, Demantoid Garnet is another MOST EXPENSIVE sort of Garnet due to its marvelous brilliance and fire.