January's gem of the month is Garnet, a stone who's history goes back thousands of years and has been found among jewelry in ancient Egyptian tombs, and was favored by nobility and clergy in the middle ages. It has a hardness of 6.5-7.5 on the Mohs scale, making it a bit softer than a diamond but about the same hardness as quartz or citrine so it is recommended for every day wear.
Garnets are largely found in antique jewelry from the Georgian period when most of these gems were flat cut and enhanced with a tinted foil backing in a closed-back setting to bring out their fiery color. During the Victorian period, most garnets were rose cut and set into more bohemian-looking settings, like sun + moon motifs.
There are over 10 varieties of garnets ranging in colors like orange + green, but the most common in modern fine jewelry are the red and rhodolite garnets. Rhodolite garnets come in a variety of hot pink or fuchsia tones and are usually free of inclusions, making them highly desirable for fine jewelry.
Garnets are famous for their protective properties providing energizing and regenerative powers and are said to strengthen the odds of prosperity in business. What a great way to start a new year!
Take a look at our favorite garnet jewels, in store + online now.