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Birthstones – January

We’re officially into the new year, with Christmas gone and passed, but it’s not all doom and gloom in the studio. This month we’re celebrating the birthday of our apprentice, and this weeks blog is all about the January birthstone (well not just theirs). Garnet! Mostly known for it’s very intense red that will surely keep that fire going in the cold long days of January.

January is one of the few months that only has one stone, rather than two or three. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice).

But don’t worry, if that brilliant Red of Garnet isn’t your personal choice of colour, you’ll be happy to know that the January Birthstone comes in a whole rainbow of colours; green, blue, oranges, pinky/oranges, and purplish reds. There are even Garnets that have a colour-change effect when under different lighting or Star Garnets, which is where the stone displays a ‘multi-rayed’ light reflection on its surface that resembles a 4 or 6 pointed star. However, despite the wide range of colours available, this stone is well known for for their deep red varieties, that often are compared to fruit seeds of pomegranates.

Star garnets are found in India, the U.S. state of Idaho as well as Sri Lanka. Green garnet ranges in location. For example, Tsavorite is mined in Kenya and was named after the Tsavo National Park where it is mined nearby, while Demantoid garnet is hugely sourced in Russia. Yellowish/orange, or bright orange Garnet is named after Spessart in Germany where it was discovered but Namibia and Tanzania are also key sources for Spessart Garnets. The colour changing Garnets are found in Kenya, Sri Lanka and Madagascar. Garnets are also found and mined in many other countries. So many different ways to celebrate the january birthstone!

According to Indian astrology, Garnet helps eliminate negative feelings (such as depression or guilt) while improving self-confidence and mental clarity which helps promote creative thinking and peace of mind. In ancient and medieval times, gems like garnet were also thought to be remedies for inflammatory diseases and to soothe the angry heart. Garnets are also a symbol of eternal love thought to held protective healing powers, which makes it another good reason to gift Garnet to your loved one to celebrate your second wedding anniversary.

The different types of Garnet which change where it sits on the Moh’s Scale of Hardness, but it typically ranges between 6.5 and 7.5, making it more susceptible to damage than diamonds or rubies. Be careful on storage for Garnets, because it can be scratched by other stones. While Garnet is not ideal for everyday wear, it is ideal for earrings (including body jewellery), brooches and pendants. Most garnet stones are not treated except in rare instances where they might be fracture filled. However, the best way to clean your garnets is with a soft toothbrush (we always recommend baby tooth brushes the bristles are always softer) and warm soapy water. If you have an ultrasonic at home, you’ll be happy to know that you can give your garnets a quick whizz about in there, unless they are fractured, or fracture-filled. Steam cleaning is not recommended.

BVLA – Round Prong

We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.

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