Red garnets are the birthstone for January. I believe we generally think of garnets as red gemstones; however, garnets not only occur in a range of red hues, but also in greens, yellow-oranges and browns. The red garnet, January’s birthstone, has been called the traveler’s stone since it’s thought to keep the wearer safe while traveling. According to gemstone lore the garnet symbolizes constancy, truth, and faith.
Red garnets are relatively hard stones. Garnets are really a group of minerals with related chemical compositions and similar crystal structures. In general, garnets are iron, manganese, magnesium, or calcium aluminum silicates. The principal members of the garnet group are Pyrope garnet (red to red-brown), Almandite garnet (red with a violet hue), and Spessartite garnet (orange to red-brown). Rhodolite garnet is a purplish-red that’s halfway chemically between Pyrope and Almandite garnet. Grossularite garnets are green and green-yellow to brownish.
Garnets form deep underground where the gem material has to withstand extreme temperature variations. I have loved the look of dark red Bohemian garnets since childhood and earlier on I dreamed of collecting them. I never started my collection, but I still think of those when I think about garnets.