Hello, Garnet!

What a way to bring in the new year! The birthstone roll begins with a bang with the garnet’s dazzling fireworks. A greatly prized gem since ancient times, the garnet is also found in a stunning array of colors that rivals even the most glamorous gemstones.

Spessartine Garnet Butterfly from the Natural History Museum
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. pomegranate seedsTraditionally, 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 hoards, 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.


Cushion cut Rhodolite garnet with a signature purplish-pink.

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.

68.815 ct. tsavorite. 27.63mm x 19.01 mm x 15.48 mm. From Tanzania.
68.81 carat tsavorite garnet // Gemological Institute of America

Garnet care

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 garnes where they will not be scratched by harder stones like diamonds and sapphires.

Don’t miss our January birthstone Pinterest page! See garnets in more colors than you ever imagined. Pinterest.com/fayesinclinton


GIA: Garnet History, Facts, & Folklore

American Gem Society: Garnets Gemstone.org