January Birthstone Garnet: Fun Facts

January babies and the people who love them, get ready to learn about one of the oldest and diverse birthstones around: the splendid red garnet. This January birthstone has more than 20 different varieties, has been found on every continent and has a history going back thousands of years.

Read on to learn everything you need to know about garnets, from the spectrum of colors they come in, to what they signify and interesting facts.

Garnet Gemstone
  • January's birthstone the splendid red garnet is the stone of those born under the zodiac sign of Aquarius.
  • A garnet stone's name derives from the Middle English word, 'gernet' meaning dark red. The term arose from the Latin word "granatum," meaning seed. Subsequently, the gemstone’s connection to seeds comes from the red seeds within a pomegranate.
  • If you want to give garnet as a gift, consider it for a second or sixth wedding anniversary. It is the traditional stone for these occasions.
  • They aren’t all red. In fact, garnet crystals exists in many colors, such as black, green, purple or even colorless. While the garnet is actually found in a rainbow of colors, most people associate the birthstone with its attractive red hue.
  • Purple garnet is extremely rare. Purple garnet birthstones have been found in Kenya and Madagascar and prices range from about $500 to $3,000 per carat, depending on size, color and quality.
  • Glamorous Green garnet birthstones are extremely rare. Fine-quality green garnets are not usually found in sizes larger than 2 carats.
  • Out of all the colors of garnet, green garnet gems are the most valuable and are very rare. Also, attractive red garnets are precious stones and therefore demand a high price.
  • Garnet's value: Raw garnet stones range from $500 a carat for good colors with some inclusions. Garnet's value rises to $2,000 to $7,000 for clean,  very deluxe larger stones with top color.
  • Designer Carl Fabergé, favored green garnets (demantoid) and used it in his famous, very lush jeweled eggs and other fanciful jewelry he created for the Russian Imperial family.
  • Garnet gemstones aren’t mined underground. Instead, raw garnets are commonly found in streams and watery areas as small pebbles.
  • Garnet crystals are found in many places around the world including North and South America, Australia, India, Asia and Spain.
  • Usually, natural garnets don't require any additional treatments before selling. There is a large supply of natural garnets saturated enough that they don't warrant being altered, which is ideal for people who want natural gemstones without paying a lot.
  • Garnet gemstones are deeply rooted in royal legend. Archeologists have often discovered very deluxe, glamorous garnet amulets placed around the necks of pharaohs in Old Egyptian tombs. Ancient Roman leaders wore very lush garnets signet rings – they used them for etching wax seals on important documents and letters.
  • On the market, there are many garnet simulants made from glass. Some antique pieces of jewelry feature dark red glass made to look like authentic garnet gems, so you should always have antique jewelry tested for authenticity.
  • No gemstone is without its lore. Garnet stones are a symbol of peace, health and strong friendship.
  • Do not wash garnet stones with water on a regular basis. Exercise extra care when cleaning your garnet jewelry to give it a bright, clean shine. Instead, polish the stones with a fresh, dry cloth. Be sure that you use a soft cloth, not one that has any texture and that might scratch the surface of your garnet jewelry.