If you were fortunate enough to be born in January your birthstone is the deep red garnet - a stone with a fascinating history.
Although garnets have been worked into jewellery since ancient times they rose to particular prominence during the late Victorian era, where their subdued colouring formed the perfect compliment to the sombre styles of the day.
Giving Meaning: The Etymology of the Garnet
The name garnet derives from the word granatum, meaning seed and is said to derive from the fact that natural garnets appear to resemble pomegranate seeds both in their colour and formation. The garnet was often gifted to symbolise friendship or another deep abiding love, which makes them wonderful gifts for January babies.
The Gem of Faith: Garnets as Talismans
Garnets have long been used as a talisman by tribes and religious sects who believed that the garnet would bring them protection against danger and evil spirits. In fact, the garnets curative and shielding powers have been believed in and celebrated since the Ancient Egyptians dubbed it the stone of life in 3100 BC.
Today the garnet continues to adorn jewellery and be worn as both the January stone and too by many who believe the garnet to be the gem of faith as the garnet is said to hold the power to endow its wearer with yearlong happiness, restore health and even bring wealth to its owner. Perhaps this is why many also believe that despite its characteristic fiery colour, the garnet is brings its wearer peace and tranquillity.
Green with Envy: The Tsavorite Garnet
Whilst garnets are synonymous with and most often seen showcasing the blood red quality that has come to inform their significance as a stone which symbolises unbreakable ties between different people, red is not the only colour in which garnets are found. So, for those born in January but who do not happen to wear or like characteristic red garnets, tsavorite garnet jewellery could for example prove the perfect gift.
Brilliantly green and not dissimilar in that regard to vibrant emeralds, the tsavorite garnets is a young stone despite its considerably long geological history. It is described and understood to be young as it was only first discovered close to Tanzania by geologist Dr. Campbell R Bridges in the 1900s. The tsavorite garnet has since been steadily gaining in popularity after famous jewellery makers Tiffany and Co. First began featuring it in their own designs during the 1970s.
Green being as well synonymous with nature, growth and new life, green garnets provide those born in January with an unusual and beautiful way to celebrate both their coming into the world and to the beginning of a brand new year.
You can view our full collection of antique garnet jewellery here.
Take a look at our full collection of antique jewellery here.
Learn more about birthstones with our helpful guide.