January Birthstone Garnet

Garnet is the birthstone for January.— Quoting Boetius,—«The Garnets are kinds of Carbuncles: It is a pellucid, red, precious gem, like unto the flowers of Pomegranates, of a rose  color, somewhat darker and more obscure than Carbuncle». Boetius says that it looks like a same of fire, or unto pure vermilion.

What we know about Garnet’s Name? — It is called in Hebrew «אדכ», «Adems», that is, «Rubinus», as Ezek.28.13. the Hebrew word «פּוּך», «Puk», is also taken sometimes for the Rubine (Ruby): but that which for the most part Interpreters do interpret it to be, is «Stibium», or «gem Antimonii» (Modern: «Antimony»), which indeed in color is has some resemblance with the Ruby. In Latin it is called «Granatus», and «ein Grana». In English «a Garnet». In Italian «Rubino de Roche», and «Granato».


January Birthstone Garnet. Credits to Longhairbroad @ Flickr

St. Jeirome’s opinion concerning this is, that Garnet does illuminate the heart to contemplate true and divine things. Its declining from glory to obscurity, does prognosticate from misfortune; as appears by this which Andreas Baccius speaks of a Garnet of his enclosed in a gold ring.


There are three main kinds of Garnet; the best which is tinctured with the excellent redness of Pomegranate flower. The second has a redness inclining to the color of «Facinth». The third kind is red, tending to a violet color, which by Italians is esteemed the most perfect of all others, and hence they call it «Rubino de Roche».

Pliny relates of the Ethiopians that they have a way of quickening obscure and dull Rubies, so as that they will make them to discover their splendor and nitour for fourteen months together, even like a flaming coals; and that is by macerating of them for fourteen days in vinegar: But buy this means, though their glory be increased for a time, they are made softer, and more subject to a brittle and fragile condition.

The Syrian Garnet is the most esteemed. Its color is a violet purple, which in some rare specimens, enables it to enter into competition with the finest Oriental Amethyst; it is also distinguished from all the other varieties of Garnet, in preserving its color, unmixed with the black tinge that generally obscures this gem, even when of considerable thickness, and unassisted by foil.

It is a disadvantage to Garnet that it loses much of its beauty by candle light, as it then acquires an orange tinge, and may thus be discriminated from the real Oriental Amethyst.

The Bohemian (Bohemia – Czech Republic now) Garnet is generally of a dull poppy red, and when held between the eye and the light, a hyacinth orange tinge is very discernible.

In proportion as this latter color prevails, the value of Garnet is discernible. When, on the contrary, the color of the Garnet is a full crimson red, it is called fire Garnet or Pyrope; its value is considerable, and when perfect and of a large size, is excessively rare, and proportionally esteemed.

The best way of cutting the Pyrope is en cabochon, with a row or two of small facets, round the girdle of the stone. When cut in steps, the color appears more or less black, but when en cabochon, the point on which the light falls, displays at brilliant fire red.


Garnet match almost to all Zodiac Signs, but its real power very depends of its color.

For example:

Orange, Purple and Red Garnet match to – Aries, Aquarius, Leos, Sagittarius, Capricorn;
Brown, Purple and Black Garnet match to – Scorpio, Capricorn;
Green Garnet match to – Libra, Capricorn, Sagittarius.

But Zodiac sources and books illustrates to us that Garnet exactly match to Capricorn. Read more about: Capricorn Birthstone.


Although Garnet, considered as a mineralogical species varies exceedingly in color, in transparency, in fracture, and in other external characters, yet those, that are fit for the purpose of the jeweler, are distinguished by the following properties.

The color of Garnet is blood or cherry red, often on one hand mixed more or less with blue, so as to present various tints of crimson, of purple, and of reddish violet; and, on the other hand, with yellow, forming orange, red, and hyacinth brown.

It occurs crystallized, in rhomboidal dodecahedrons, imbedded in mica slate,and in other primitive rocks; or uncrystallized, in roundish grains, imbedded in serpentine, and in certain trap-rocks.

Its size varies from the smallest piece that can be worked, to the bulk of a nut; when exceeding this, it is scarcely ever free from flaws, or possessed of the requisite degree of transparency. Its fracture is conchoidal; its internal luster is vitreous, and brightly shining; its hardness exceeds that of quartz; its specific gravity varies from 3.7 to 4.2. Before the blowpipe it is fusible without much difficulty into a black enamel.


Garnet is easily worked, and when faced cut, is almost always, on account of the depth of its color, formed into this tables, which are not infrequently concave, or hollowed out on their under side.

Cut Garnets of this latter description, when skillfully set with bright silver foil, have often been sold as Rubies. This gem, though common, and perhaps rather unfashionable at present, has much intrinsic beauty. It is made up into rings, ear-drops and necklaces.

A set of fine Garnets, was considered, a hundred years ago, as a very magnificent ornament for ladies of the highest rank.

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