January Birthstone – Garnet

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Garnet gemstones are among the most diverse of the gemstone groups, because it encompasses different species and varieties. Garnet varieties are extraordinarily diverse in color, and some rare varieties exhibit phenomenal characteristics, such as a star effect (aster-ism) or a color-change effect when viewed under different lighting. The deep, red varieties of garnet have been compared to pomegranate seeds, and in fact, garnet is a derivation of the word “pomegranate.” 

Garnet is the January birthstone and may be celebrated in its many varieties, providing an array of choices for gemstone enthusiasts. 

Garnet Facts

  • Garnet varieties and species come in a rainbow of colors, such as red, orange, yellow and green.
  • Tsavorite (green) garnet was named for the region where it is mined near Tsavo National Park in Kenya. Yellowish orange to bright orange spessartine garnet is named after Spessart, Germany, where it was discovered. Russia is an important source for demantoid garnet. Other sources of garnet include Brazil, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and the United States.
  • Nature also produces “collector” garnets. Star garnets are found in India, the U.S. state of Idaho, and Sri Lanka; a rare form of iridescent andradite garnet is found in Mexico; and garnets that change color in different light are found in Kenya, Madagascar and Sri Lanka.
  • Garnets have a hardness of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Garnets can be faceted or carved as cabochons or beads.

Garnet Treatment

  • Garnets are rarely treated because of their natural clarity and color. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Garnet Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Garnet jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth. Avoid steam cleaning.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to Gary’s Gem Garden at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.
  • Information from Jewelers of America Website

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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