January’s birthstone, the Garnet: Dragons’ eyes, protection, and beauty
Here’s a stone with a pre-historic past—garnets have been found dating from the Bronze Age! And in the Middle Ages, people believed dragons’ eyes were made of them. The gems’ vibrant red color has been believed to cure blood disorders, enhance love and empower the life force. These stones tend to give a Victorian feel to jewelry, and are often seen as clusters, or surrounded by pearls or gold filigree.
10 fascinating facts about garnets
- The gem’s name comes from the Latin, granatum, which means “seed”—because it looks like a pomegranate seed. In fact, Victorian jewelers used garnets in clusters to create pomegranate-like brooches.
- It comes in a rainbow of colors, from deep red to vibrant green. The only color it doesn’t come in? Blue.
- Until recently, Czechoslovakia (Bohemia) was one of the major producers of garnet jewelry.
- Some have been found that turn blue or purple in artificial light.
- In ancient Egypt, mummies were buried with garnets to help them go peacefully to the afterlife. In Rome, they were used in signet rings to seal documents.
- Mothers in medieval Europe would string green garnets above their baby’s cradle for good health and sweet dreams.
- With their symbolism of love and life force, garnets have become popular in engagement rings. According to the International Gem Society, yellow gold gives garnets a regal, antique look; white gold makes the stone stand out; rose gold can give it a more updated look, bringing warmth to the ring.
- Some stones feature “stars,” or asterism due to small needles deep within.
- Garnets are believed to protect travelers on their journeys.
- Healing properties also include bringing the wearer good health, wealth, and happiness. What more can you ask for?
How to buy—and care for—garnet jewelry
- Garnets can fit into almost every budget. Color’s most important—according to the American Gem Society, the price of garnet jewelry will generally increase for rarer colors like vivid-green Tsavorite, the highest priced garnet.
- Look for a stone with a deep, saturated color. Buy from a reliable jeweler who can assure you that it’s the real thing. Also, put the stone up to your eye and look at a light source in the distance. You should be able to see the light reflected in the stone’s inner walls.
- Garnets are relatively durable ( 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale) but not as strong as rubies or sapphires. Be careful not to store garnet jewelry with harder stones (diamonds, etc.) to prevent scratching. And be careful when you’re using cleaning products and hairsprays that can cloud the stone’s brilliance.
- Don’t expose garnet jewelry to bright light for a long period of time—the color could fade.
Protect your January birthstone garnet jewelry—and all your precious keepsakes and heirlooms—with an updated professional appraisal. It’s the only way to properly insure your collection (and even an engagement ring and wedding band are a collection!) against theft, loss, or damage. Contact me at 617-304-0174 or at email@example.com to set up an appointment. I’m currently booking for the new year.
Wishing you love, protection, and beauty…Brilliantly yours, Aimee
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