January: Garnet


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Garnet is actually the group name for a family of gemstones that come in every color except blue. They're beautiful, durable, and most garnets are very affordable.

The name garnet comes from the Roman word granatus meaning "seed," as the gems were thought to resemble pomegranate seeds. The most common garnets are the red to red-brown varieties that people know best. Red garnets can show almost as much fire as rubies.

Until the 18th century, soldiers used garnet to heal wounds and stop blood flow, as red stones were thought to influence the blood. They were also said to promote true love, warn of danger by changing color, and protect the wearer's home from fire and lightning.

Garnets in yellow, brown and orange, were believed to stimulate energy, increase sexual vitality, and promote compatibility in lovers. If you prefer spring or summer greens, tsavorite garnets from Africa comes in clear light greens to rich dark greens and are more affordable than fine emeralds. Yellow-green to mid-green demantoid garnet is mostly found in antique jewelry. Green gemstones were also said to bring prosperity, calm the nerves, and protect wearers from emotional stress.

The pink to reddish purple colors is in rhodolite garnet, the largest transparent species. The lighter, sparkling bright pinks can resemble pink sapphires. They were believed to attract romance and cure broken hearts.

Though garnets are tough, like all gemstones, special care must be taken, as some varieties can chip. For jewels worn often, like rings, look for settings that protect the gem with metal. Also avoid steaming, abrupt temperature changes, and acids, because they might damage gems. Ultrasound or warm water with mild detergent is recommended for cleaning.

As a January birthstone and the second wedding anniversary gem, garnet provides a versatile family of affordable gems that can be enjoyed year-round. Chalmers Jewelers has a wise selection of garnet jewelry. Stop in today.