Orange spessartite & tsavorite garnet Butterfly // Natural History Museum
For those of us who have birthdays sandwiched between Christmas and Valentine’s, we’re rewarded with a decadently gorgeous gemstone, the garnet, prized by the ancient world for its dusky richness. Traditionally, a good garnet will have the mouth-watering shimmer of a pomegranate seed – hence its name, which comes from the Latin “granatum.”
As those who claim this for their birthstone will attest, there’s no complaint in having the garnet as the sole choice for the January-born. This ancient favorite has been found in royal Egyptian tombs, medieval treasure hoardes, and halls of Victorian fashion alike. The garnet hails from many parts of the world, and its availability through the ages has made it an affordable treasure.
The rarer specimens include the tsavorite garnet, named for Tsavo National Park in Kenya, which flaunts a naturally brilliant green that rivals the finest emeralds. Rhodolite has a bright, rosy glint while hessonite has a golden glow similar to topaz.
Garnet jewelry is the perfect touch to add warmth and luster to the coldest month of the year. It requires no special care, but you can help it keep its brilliance by cleaning it gently with mild soapy water. It is a hard stone but can be damaged by extreme temperatures and acidic substances. Remember to store your garnet pieces where they will not be scratched by harder stones like diamonds and sapphires.
68.81 carat tsavorite garnet // Gemological Institute of America