Garnet January's Birth Stone

Oval-cut garnets in light to dark shades.
Oval-cut garnets in light to dark shades. | Source

Garnets form in very large crystals. They are available in a wide variety of colors, ranging from the lightest cinnamon to all shades of red and crimson. Some even have a green tint. The rarest is the blue garnet.

Long before they became associated with the month of January (they are the birthstone for that month), garnets were used in ancient Rome. They have often been found in Roman ruins. The name garnet may even owe its origin to the Latin tree name, pomegranate, given the similar color of most garnet stones and the blossom and kernel of the pomegranate.

In the US, the garnet is the state stone for New York. They are mined in the US, along with Sri Lanka, Malaysia, India, Uruguay, Africa, and Brazil.

Garnet Facts

Holiday Tradition
Myth and Legend
Garnets are the stone of the second wedding anniversary.
A garnet may have adorned Noah's lantern.
The rarest garnet is blue, found in the 1990s in Madagascar.
January birthdays have garnet birthstones.
It is said that wearing garnets will chase bad dreams away and protect travelers.
Garnets exist in many colors and can appear to change color in different light.

My mother's birthday is in January. When we were young, mother would buy garnet birthstone rings, necklaces, and earrings. I have a few of those pieces now. What I like about this stone is the wide variety of styles. My favorite two are marcasite and antique.

Some famous people who also have January birthdays are Robert E. Lee, Paula Deen, Kevin Costner, Cary Grant, Michelle Obama, Eartha Kitt, Andy Rooney, LL Cool J, Justin Timberlake, Katie Couric, January Jones, Benjamin Franklin, and Danica McKellar.

The history of the garnet stone is as wide and deep as ancient history can be. Some stories tell of garnets on the Aaron's breastplate and Noah's lantern in ancient times.Of course we may never know for sure, but this is written in the legend and lore of the stone.

Ancient and Modern Beliefs About Garnet Properties

Did you know that you can use garnets to chase bad dreams away? All you have to do is place the stone underneath your pillow before going to sleep. Garnets are known, among other things, as the stones of truth and purification. It is customary to place a garnet on the head when meditating for this exact reason. It's supposed to help boost spiritual awareness and have a calming effect. Garnets have even been used to cure depression. If you've been having trouble having sweet dreams, then you might want to give it a try.

Garnets Appear in Many Colors

This cluster of garnets found in Pakistan shows the many shades of these stones depending upon the angle of light.
This cluster of garnets found in Pakistan shows the many shades of these stones depending upon the angle of light. | Source

Garnet are found in many colors including red, orange, yellow, green, purple, brown, blue, black, pink, and clear. The rarest of these is the blue garnet, discovered in the late 1990s in Bekily, Madagascar. Blue garnets have also been found in parts of the United States, Russia, Kenya, Tanzania, and Turkey. They change color from blue-green in the daylight to purple in incandescent light. Other varieties of color-changing garnets also exist. In daylight, their color ranges from shades of green, beige, brown, gray, and blue, but in incandescent light, they appear a reddish or purplish/pink color.

Buy her who in January was born,

no gem save garnet shall be worn.

They will ensure her constancy,

true friendship, and fidelity.

— Unknown

Birth Stone Information for Each Month

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