Have you spent your birthday snowed in? If so, you might be one of the 26 million people in the United States who celebrate their birthday in January and proudly wear garnet as their birthstone.
The word garnet is derived from the Latin word “granatus,” meaning “grain” or “seed”, named because the stone resembled the deep red seeds of the pomegranate. Garnets were first mined in Sri Lanka over 2,500 years ago, and today are mined in Australia, Africa, Russia, India and even right here in the United States in Idaho and Arizona.
Garnets have been used for thousands of years. Popular with Romans during the third and fourth centuries, many cultures, including Native Americans, Chinese and Japanese, believed garnets held a strong medicinal power and used them to decorate shields, jewelry worn into battle and even as bullets. Additionally, garnets were believed to cure fevers, bleeding and depression, as well as reduce inflammation.
Today, garnets serve as the birthstone for January birthdays. While garnet birthstones are most famously known as a red stone, they can be found in a variety of colors, ranging from emerald green to black. The color variety is due to metal impurities such as aluminum, iron, calcium and manganese. Some garnets include a star-like shape in the center of the stone, which is produced when minuscule fibers of the metal form impurities.
Garnets symbolize enduring friendships, deep love and affection, and happiness. Garnets are also considered a protective gemstone for people who love to travel.
The garnet might be the birthstone for the first wintery month of the year, but the deep, rich hue is sure to warm the heart of anyone celebrating a birthday in January.