October 09, 2020
🕐 5:30 Min Read
Learn the fascinating meaning behind the Garnet and Rose Quartz January birthstones. This dynamic duo has captivated the hearts and minds of many from 8,000 BC onward.
What Is The January Birthstone, History, Health Benefits, & More
January is the month where Capricorn and Aquarius zodiac signs come to play. For many, this is also the post-holiday come down period where the world is slightly more quiet. However, the ultimate question for most of you jewelry enthusiasts is “What is the January birthstone?”
When it comes to birthstones, variety is the spice of life. January is serving this up big time with a beautiful dynamic duo. It’s time to say hello and fall in love with the Garnet and Rose Quartz birthstones.
What Is The Garnet Birthstone?
It finds your motivation and lights your energy spark. It draws determination and escorts you through the dark. So when in times of weakness, or feeling a little low, the essence of the Garnet will help you find your glow.
The Garnet is the primary birthstone for January birthdays and second wedding anniversaries.
This January birthstone is formulated from Pyrope, Almandine, Spessartine, Grossular, and Andradite minerals. Specifically, the Pyrope and Almandine range in purple-red hues while the Spessartine is spotted in vivid oranges and yellows. Grossular is the most rainbow of the minerals that has colorless notes in yellow, red and orange, but garners attention most in the vibrant greens.
There are several blends or varieties of this gemstone. This includes:
- Rhodolite- combination of Pyrope and Almandine that yields a purplish color
- Malaia- combination of Spessartite and Pyrope that are usually reddish, yellowish or pinkish orange color
- Color-Changing Garnets- another Pyrope and Spessartite blend that are reddish-blue with purple flashes. Other variations of this are Almandine and Pyrope that shift from red to purple, pending the light.
Now, let’s talk about the history of the Garnet birthstone. Fun fact: The name “Garnet” originates from the medieval Latin granatus, which signifies the red color of a pomegranate. It’s time to learn more about the Garnet’s birthstone meaning and history.
Throughout the ages, Garnets have been heralded as an elite and durable gemstone. In the bronze age, Garnets were originally used as gemstones and abrasives. During the Ancient Egyptian era, the Pharaohs proudly touted elaborate necklaces adorned with red Garnets. On the other hand, Ancient Rome had signet rings that contained Garnet intaglios. This was used to stamp the wax and secured important documents. In the Middle Ages, the clergy and nobility preferred the red Garnet.
During the Victorian Era, these vivacious and multidimensional red beauties were extremely popular. This is also when the most famous piece of jewelry was fashioned. Keep reading.
The Most Famous Piece Of Jewelry
One of the most famous pieces of Garnet jewelry is the Antique Pyrope Hair Comb. The term Pyrope has greek origins that means “fiery-eyed,” which adequately represents this January birthstone. These elaborate stones are from the Bohemian (modern day portion of the Czech Republic) historic mines. You can experience the Antique Pyrope Hair Comb’s full throttle beauty in the Smithsonian Museum.
Garnet Health Benefits
It’s rumored that there’s health benefits and positive vibes channeled when you’re wearing your Garnet birthstone. These benefits include eliminating negative feelings that stem from guilt and depression. Additionally, people have noted stronger self-confidence and mental clarity. Let’s be real, who isn’t a proponent of a better peace of mind?
In the medieval era, Garnets were even used as remedies for inflammatory disease, hemorrhages and anger. Traditional folklore also ties Garnet to the circulatory system and production of hemoglobin. They believed this birthstone ignites the metabolism, treats spinal disorders, stimulates the blood, and so much more.
Where Garnets Are Found
In addition to Bohemia (modern day Czech Republic), this January birthstone has the strongest presence in the African continent. The countries where the gem (or minerals to formulate the gem) include, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, and Namibia.
Other countries where the Garnet has a presence includes Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, and Sri Lanka.
Garnet Care & Cleaning
The birthstone for January ranges between 6.5 and 7.5 on Mohs scale of harness, which means it’s more susceptible to damage when compared to other stones (i.e. diamonds). With jewelry in general, it’s always best to store each piece individually. This way, your stones don’t scratch or get scratched by one another.
To clean, you can use a soft brush with warm, soapy water. For non-fracture-filled Garnets, you can use an ultrasonic cleaner.
Although it’s rare, some Garnets are fracture-filled. If that’s the case, a jeweler can fix the fractures by filling them with a glass-like substance. As a result, your jeweler may prescribe a different method of cleaning.
What Is The Rose Quartz Birthstone?
Reawakening the heart to its own innate love, it provides a deep sense of personal fulfillment and contentment, allowing one the capacity to truly give and receive love from others.
The Rose Quartz is the secondary and complimentary January birthstone.
Rose Quartz Properties
Unlike the multi-composited Garnet, the Rose Quartz is simply made of Silica—the common form of the quartz. This secondary birthstone of January ranges in color from a delicate, light pink to a deeper cotton candy.
Rose Quartz Variations
What’s interesting to note for this birthstone of January is they’re opaque or translucent in their essential form. Starting in 1980, faceted Rose Quartzes started rising in the jewelry stone market due to transparent material discovery in Madagascar.
Rare to most gemstones, the Rose Quartz may display Tyndall Scattering, an effect of fine particles that make light appear blue. Inclusions in some of these gemstones can turn a portion or all of the quartz blue when the light strikes the right angle.
Here are some other variations:
- Star Rose Quartz- a type of Rose Quartz that has aligned, silky inclusions that reflect light in a 4-6 rayed star shape
- Cat’s Eye Rose Quartz- a variation where the reflection is a single band resembling an eye
- Pink Quartz- similar rose-colored gemstone
Rose Quartz History
This secondary January birthstone has an extensive history dating back to 7000 BC in Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). Around 800-600 BC, the Assyrians and Romans proudly touted this stone.
The Rose Quartzes magical reputation started coming into the fold with the Ancient Roman, Egyptian, and Greek civilizations through using these crystals as potent talismans. During the Middle Ages, medical practitioners leveraged them in their healing potions.
On the other hand, the early cultures of the Americas used Rose Quartzes as the stone to balance emotions, and heal anger and disappointment.
The Most Famous Rose Quartz
Rose Quartzes are known for their beauty—but there’s one that stands above the rest. Meet La Madonna Rosa (The Pink Madonna). This bombshell of a gem was founded in a Brazilian mine in the 1950s.
The Quartz variety game is incredibly strong. In the center, La Madonna Rosa has a central cluster of smoky quartz crystals. There’s a halo of vivid pink quartz crystals surrounding the outside.
Rose Quartz Health Benefits
In a non-surprising plot twist, the Rose Quartz is well-known for their benefits and are most often considered healing stones. This all-star is known to alleviate heart disease, headaches, depression, and other stress-related issues.
Additionally, they’re known to be great for blood circulation, PMS, thrombosis, heart issues, and skin problems (acne, wrinkles, scarring, etc.).
And if you’re expecting—even better. This is the perfect gemstone to use during pregnancy since it enhances the health of the mother and baby, eases labor pains, boosts milk production and prevents postpartum depression.
At this point, we probably don’t need to tell you twice. It’s time to strengthen your health game and treat yourself to some Rose Quartz jewelry.
Where Rose Quartzes Are Found
Rose Quartz can be found in many locations worldwide, with Brazil and Madagascar being the hotspots.
Other locations graced with this January birthstone include: The United States (Maine, New York, South Dakota), Afghanistan, India, Japan, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, and Sri Lanka.
Rose Quartz Care & Cleaning
Another fun fact: the secondary birthstone of January is known for its durability, with a hardness of 7 and no cleavage. Like the Garnet, use warm water and a soft brush. It’s best to stay away from mechanical systems since Rose Quartzes usually have inclusions.
For those variations (i.e. Pink Quartz), save them for the evening or occasional wear only. Why? UV light sources and sunlight diminish the color. So do yourself and your stone a favor to keep that pink extra vibrant.