Garnets for January

Garnet is a beautiful stone with great brilliance.  It is a sturdy stone and very hard-wearing, which makes it ideal for use in all types of jewelry, including rings and bracelets, which often suffer more abuse than necklaces and earrings.     

Humans discovered the beauty of garnets long ago.  Garnet beads have been found in prehistoric graves.  Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans used garnets in jewelry.  During medieval times, garnet became known as the warrior stone.  Soldiers carried it with them to ward off death and injury.

Early Medieval Hilt Fitting, part of the Staffordshire Hoard - image by portableantiquities

My favourite random fact about garnets is that garnets were apparently used as a weapon by being shot from guns.  Can you imagine using a gemstone in the place of bullets?     

Today garnet is best known as the birthstone for January.  The image of a brilliant, deep red stone may come to mind when you think of garnet.  But red is not garnet’s only colour.  It can also be yellow, brown, orange or green.  In fact, garnets come in all colours except for blue.  

 

The familiar deep red stones that many of us readily identify as garnets are pyrope garnets and almandite garnets.  But if you prefer earthy tones from light golden honey to cognac to deep maple, hessonite garnet may be the stone for you.  Spessartite can be found in beautiful shades of yellow, fiery orange, red and reddish browns.  If green is more to your liking, perhaps hydrogrossular garnet (which is sometimes called Transvaal jade), tsavorite garnet or demantoid garnet would suit.  Demantoid garnet, originally found only in Russia, was favoured by Carl Fabergé.  Although demantoid garnet is now also found in Namibia, it remains the rarest and most expensive of the garnets. 

Have you discovered the beauty and versatility of garnets yet?

   

Garnet, Citrine and Sterling Silver Necklace

Red and Green Garnet Bracelet

Hessonite Garnet Earrings

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