Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you guys are having a wonderful start to the new year! To start the new year off, let’s learn about garnets, the January birthstone. “Garnet” is derived from the Latin word “granatum” which means seed, and is so called because of the gemstone’s resemblance to the beautiful red seeds of the pomegranate. Most people only know garnets to come in red but garnets can come in a rich palette of colors: greens, oranges, pinkish oranges, deeply saturated purplish reds, color changing blue, and more.
Legend says that garnets can bring peace, prosperity and good health to the home. Some even call it the “Gem of Faith,” and it’s believed that to those who wear it and do good, more good will come. Conversely, it was also said to bring very bad fortune to those who commit bad acts while wearing it. Garnets also symbolize deep and lasting
friendships. With that legend in mind, give a garnet to someone whose friendship you deeply value. The gemstone was also used as a talisman for protection both by warriors going into battle and to those who wanted to ward off pestilence and plague. Some ancient healers and wise men even placed garnets in wounds and praised its healing powers.
As mentioned above, garnets come in several different colors. Each color is called a species and there are 20 species. Listed below are the 4 most valuable species of garnet:
Rhodolite garnets were first discovered in North Carolina. This is the most valuable of the red garnets. It has a lovely, vibrant purplish red hue. It can range from a purplish raspberry red to a light reddish purple.
Demantoid garnets were discovered by the Russians in the Ural Mountains in the mid-1800s. These species of garnets have an interesting inclusion, called a horsetail and this particular type of inclusion is not found in any other green gem. Demantoid garnets with visible horsetails have a higher value. The garnet below is pictured with a horsetail inclusion.
Spessartite garnets were discovered in the 1960s in the Umba River Valley of Tanzania and Kenya. Natural Spessartite garnets have an orange color, but iron impurities are usually present, which give it a reddish-orange or brownish-orange color. The saturated pure orange garnet is the rarest and most valuable of Spessartite garnets.
Tsavorite garnet were discovered in the 1960s and is one of the most important green gemstones. Because of its growth structure, almost 85 percent of all Tsavorite rough yields cut stones of less than a carat. The green color is comparative with emerald, it is less included and more durable and is seldom treated. The color it is in the ground is the color you see in your jewelry.
If your birthstone is garnet and you thought it was boring...Think again! The interesting folklore associated with garnets coupled with the wide range of colors make it an interesting and fun stone. Don't forget to buy your loved ones and/or friends garnet jewelry pieces so that your relationship and friendships will be long lasting! Stop by H&A International for all your garnet needs! We are more than happy to custom make a piece for you.