Garnet: January’s Birthstone Has a Rainbow of Colors

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11.53 Ct Rhodalite Garnet (very fine color, very fine clarity) set with .21 Ct total weight of diamonds (G in color, VS clarity)
11.53 Ct Rhodalite Garnet (very fine color, very fine clarity) set with .21 Ct total weight of diamonds (G in color, VS clarity)

If you were born in January, you’re in luck. You have a variety of colors to choose from when it comes to showing off your birthstone, the garnet. This gemstone is certainly an elegant addition to a ring, necklace or other piece of jewelry, but there’s much more to this precious stone than meets the eye.

What Makes a Garnet

Garnet, which is found on every continent, is actually the name of a group of related minerals. Although all garnet has a similar crystal structure, it is the chemical structure that differs and yields the vast array of colors. It is most commonly discovered in metamorphic rocks, which are rocks created by physical or chemical changes resulting from extreme heat and pressure.

Most people recognize the garnet as a deep-red gemstone. In fact, red garnet is the most common and abundant of all the types and colors. It is often used in jewelry and has a long history as a decorative stone, even showing up in ancient Egyptian and Roman jewelry. Depending on its transparency, garnet can exhibit various shades of red, purple, orange, yellow, brown and nearly black. Green garnets are becoming highly sought after because of their incredible brilliance. Some closely resemble emerald, and they are especially popular and rare.

Interesting Garnet Facts

  • Garnet is derived from the word granatus, which translates to seedy or seeded, a reference to the similarity between red garnet crystals and pomegranate seeds.
  • Garnet is a symbol of friendship and trust, which is fitting given the significant hardness and durability of the gemstone. These characteristics also make garnet a valuable industrial mineral.
  • Garnet has many applications in the United States as an abrasive tool. Perhaps you’ve used sandpaper to smooth the finish of a wood project, or on drywall prior to painting. If so, it’s likely that the abrasive component consisted of small, sharp granules of garnet.
  • Garnet is also used for waterjet cutting. The combination of a high-pressure stream of water and abrasive garnet granules is powerful enough to cut through metal. Garnet granules are also used for abrasive blasting to quickly smooth or clean a hard surface, or as a filtering medium to purify or treat water.

If you are celebrating a January birthday, you should be proud of this colorful and versatile birthstone. It has undoubtedly impacted your life in one way or another.

Jeff Johnson & Co. is a full-service jeweler located in Upper Arlington, Ohio. We specialize in custom engagement rings, keepsakes for significant moments, and giving new life to family heirlooms. Our gemologists are trained by the Gemological Institute of America, and they work closely with each customer to ensure that we meet your vision and beyond. Stop by our showroom at 5025 Arlington Centre Blvd. (off Henderson Road), call 614-459-8890, You can also follow us on Facebook at Jeff Johnson & Co.