At one time it may have seemed rare to find anyone claiming garnet as their favorite stone (it can be tough to compete with the likes of opal and tourmaline), but January’s birthstone is chock-full of surprises.
Take, for instance, garnet’s most abundant hues: sometimes a rusty brown-red, other times a sweet cranberry—appealing on many levels, though not as universally pleasing as a genial shade of blue.
But with the rise of interest in vintage and antique jewelry, a thirst for garnet comes too. Rich with history, the gem in its common red has noted appearances dating back to ancient Egypt and Rome (today’s antiques hunters won’t come across many items from that time period, but Victorian jewelry is a prime era for garnet).
So popular is garnet’s red (its name originates from the Latin granatus, which means “pomegranate”) that it might surprise the average consumer to know they could nearly make a rainbow with all of the colors the stone has to offer.
For those who do gravitate toward cooler colors, tsavorite is an irresistible, piercing shade of green. Equally irresistible and rarer is the demantoid, a springy variation of garnet that skews to the lighter side of green.
Then there’s spessartite—orange—and take note of the current belle of the ball, rhodolite, an excellent display of Pantone’s Viva Magenta that promises to be lively through 2023 and beyond.
Those born in January may have to contend with the post-holiday slump and often chilly weather, but they certainly have it all when it comes to their birthstone.
Top: Ava one-of-a-kind ring in 18k rose gold with 1.57 ct. rhodolite garnet and 0.26 ct. t.w. tanzanite, $3,050; Laura Gallon