January Birthstone: Garnet


Family: Garnet

Color: Red, Green, Yellow, Orange, Brown, Pink, Purple, Gray, Black

Mohs Hardness: 7-7.5

Garnet GLORIOUS Garnet! What a way to start the year? January babies, you are blessed with an incredible gemstone GROUP as your birthstone.

I often overlooked Garnet for its murky brownish-red appearance, but I was quite wrong to do so! Though it is largely thought of as being a deep red hue, Garnet comes in a variety of autumnal colors due to differing chemical compositions. And let me tell you: Not all Garnet is created equally.

For January, I would like to share a few of my favorite Garnet friends and hope you grow to be equally as excited about this GLORIOUS Garnet Group as I am!

Grossular Garnet

The name "Grossular" is derived from the Latin word for "Gooseberry". The first grossular garnets found were described as having the same characteristic pale green (minty) color as the gooseberry plant.

This is actually a bit misleading as not all Grossular Garnets have this pale green hue. In fact, Grossular garnets have the widest range of colors of any garnet type. Ranging from transparent to opaque, green to yellow brown, yellow-orange to reddish orange and even colorless, there is a Grossular Garnet out there for everyone.

Tsavorite Garnet

Tsavorite is the rare, transparent green to yellowish green variety of grossular garnet. This gemstone is what I think of as a "smart man's Emerald". With the same rich hue of emerald, greater hardness and a less brittle crystal composition, a Tsavorite Garnet is perfect for everyday wear.

In 1970, the Scottish geologist Campbell R. Bridges discovered a source of tsavorite in Kenya. Campbell Bridges' son has a booth at the AGTA Gem Fair in Tucson--One of my favorite annual stops to marvel at the glorious garnets in his possession!

The name "Tsavorite" was coined in 1974 by Tiffany & Co. president Henry Platt to honor the location of tsavorite's first discovery in the Tsavo National Park in Kenya.

Tsavorite is in very limited availability. Stones over two carats are incredibly rare.

Spessartite Garnet

Spessartite (aka: Spessartine) garnet is a radiant orangy-red/reddish-orange gemstone

coveted by gemologists and jewelry collectors around the world. Sometimes called "Mandarin Garnet" due to its orange base hue, manganese in its chemical composition gives the gem its brilliant orange coloration.

The first gem quality Spessartite garnets were found in 1991 near the Kunene River, which runs along the border of Namibia and Angola. With its vibrant sun-like hue, Spessartite seems to radiate from within.

Rhodolite Garnet

Rhodolite Garnet