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January Birthstone – Garnet

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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Aquamarine

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Aquamarine
 gemstones evoke the colors of the sea. Aquamarine can be blue, very slightly greenish blue, greenish blue, very strongly greenish blue, or green-blue. Aquamarine gemstones are often free from inclusions and clear as water too, symbolizing purity of spirit and soul. They make fantastic gemstones for evening wear because they glitter and gleam even under muted light conditions. During the day or in bright light, they exhibit a soothing coolness.

Aquamarines are found on most continents. Aquamarine is the March birthstone, but anyone can wear and delight in the optical qualities of this gemstone.

Aquamarine Facts

  • Aquamarine belongs to the beryl species of mineral and is closely related to emerald, morganite and golden beryl, among others.
  • Brazil is an important source for aquamarine. Other sources include Afghanistan, Burma (Myanmar), China, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Ukraine and the United States.
  • Aquamarine is a fairly durable gemstone with a hardness of 7.5-8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Aquamarine gemstones can be cut into many shapes and sizes. Some are cut as cabochons or fashioned into beads. Larger specimens may be carved into gem sculptures.
  • Nature produces a variety known as cat’s-eye aquamarine, a rare, highly collectible, phenomenal variety. Microscopic growth tube inclusions cause the cat’s-eye effect.

Aquamarine Treatment

  • Aquamarines are almost always heat-treated to lessen the subtle yellow color that occurs in some of them. Any treatments should be disclosed to buyers.

Synthetic Aquamarine

  • Aquamarine can also be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined, but it is more often imitated by treated blue topaz, glass and synthetic blue spinel. This should be understood by the seller and clearly disclosed to the buyer.

Aquamarine Care and Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Aquamarine jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA Written by Jewelers of America.