January Birthstone: Color and Meaning

by Martie Majoros
Garnet icon January
By Didier Descouens via Wikimedia Commons


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The January birthstone, the garnet, is thought to keep the wearer safe during travel

Garnets form in layers of rock deep underground where they withstand extreme temperature variations. Geologists study garnets to understand the effects of temperature and pressure on surrounding rocks.

January Birthstone Color

Although the garnet is commonly associated with a range of red hues, it also sometimes forms in other colors including greens, yellows, and even blues.  

Birthstone Facts & Folklore

  • The word “garnet” is derived from a term that means “seed,” because the gem resembles the color and shape of a pomegranate seed.
  • Although often seen in shades of red, garnets appear in several other colors, including pink, orange, brown, yellow, green, purple, and black.
  • The garnet symbolizes constancy, truth, and faith and was thought to keep the wearer safe during travel.
  • In Asia, bullets were made from garnets because it was believed that they would cause enemies to bleed more.
  • Not all mined garnets are worn as jewelry; lower-quality garnets are used in products such as garnet-coated sandpaper. 
  • Garnets were also thought to prevent nightmares. If you dream of losing a garnet necklace, unexpected good fortune is in your future.

Garnet, January birthstone


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