January Birthstone – Garnet

previous month zodiac signs next month
<<December Capricorn
(dec 22 – jan 20)
(jan 21 – feb 21)

Garnet fact file
Crystal Structure: isometric,dodecahedral
Chemical Composition: silicate mixtures of magnesium, iron, and aluminum
Hardness: 6 ½ to 7 ½ MOHS
Refractive Index: 1.7 to 1.8
Colors: Every color but Blue

Garnets ( Rhodolite ) are the January birthstones. Garnets were known as carbuncles in the old ages.

The popular perception of garnets is of red globules and crystals, much like pomegranate seeds. However, garnets come in a variety of colors including orange, golden, cinnamon, green, yellow – except blue.


The name comes from the Latin granatum, which means seedlike, as the red variety resembles pomegranate seeds.

Physical and Chemical Properties

Chemical composition of Garnet

Garnet is a rather complex mineral that has a general chemical formula of R3R2(SiO4)3, where R3 is a bivalent (gives up two electrons) metal and R2 is a trivalent (gives up three electrons) metal when forming a chemical bond. The metal R3 may be Calcium (Ca++), Magnesium (Mg++), ferrous Iron (Fe++), or Manganese (Mn++), and the metal R2 may be Aluminum (Al+++), ferric iron (Fe+++), or Chromium (Cr+++). The hardness may vary from about 6 ½ to 7 ½ on the MOHS scale, and the specific gravity (S. G.) (weight of the stone compared to the weight of an equal volume of water) may vary from about 3.5 to 4.3. Garnets actually consist of a family of minerals that are silicate mixtures of magnesium, iron, and aluminum. Varieties include rhodolite ( the variety commonly accepted as the January birthstone), malaya, demantoid, grossular, hessonite, spessartite, hessonite, almandine, mandarin, and combinations between these varieties.

Colors of Garnet

The single garnet crystal may include a hodge-podge of elements, and garnets may be a multitude of colors; natural garnets are known in every color but blue. The luster of garnets ranges from vitreous to resinous to subadamantine. Colors can be red, brown, yellow, orange, white, green, or black or shades in between. Pyrope (bright red), rhodolite (pink-red), and almandine (violet-red) garnets tend to be the most common and popular colors. The spessartine garnet tends to be orange-red or brownish yellow.Other varieties of garnets are yellow, green, black, and even colorless. They may be translucent or slightly opaque.

Healing Properties and Interesting Information


Garnet is a Stone of health – extracting negative energy from the chakras, and transmuting the energy to beneficial use. Stimulates both base and crown chakras to allow kundalini flow. Protective and calming. Commitment to a purpose.

Where Found

Garnets can be found throughout the world in streams and alluvial deposits. In the United States, they are most common in Virginia, New York, Maine, Alaska, Colorado, Utah, California, New Jersey, Arizona, and Idaho.

History, mythology

Garnets have long been carried by travellers to protect against accidents far from home. In ancient Asia and the American Southwest, garnets were used as bullets because the glowing red color was said to increase the ferocity of a wound. Garnets in legend light up the night and protect their owners from nightmares. Noah used a garnet lantern to navigate the Ark at night. The ancient world is full of praise for the carbuncle, the glowing red coal of a gemstone we now know as garnet, the January birthstone.

Buying and Caring tips

Tips for Buying Garnet Jewelry

Garnets may be confused with spinel which has lower physical and optical properties and corundum which is doubly refractive. Glass imitations have bubbles and swirl lines that are easily seen under magnification. Prices for rhodolite garnet range between $5 and $100 per carat for a one-carat stone. Rare stones like demantoid garnet, which are practically “extinct” in rough form, are highly prized, with prices that range from $250 to $5,000 per carat.

Tips to take care of Garnet Jewelry

Warm soapy water and a soft brush is perfect. An ultrasonic cleaner is safe for most garnets, except andradite (the best known variety is demantoid). Do not use a steamer.

Leave a Reply