If you were born in the month of January, you really have only one choice in birthstones -- garnet. However, the garnet family is incredibly diverse, encompassing an amazing range of colors. Although the color red occurs most frequently, there are also garnets showing different shades of green, pale to bright yellow, fiery orange and fine earth- and umbra-shades. The only garnet color which is rarely seen is blue, though some blue garnets have recently been discovered in Madagascar.
All of the garnets have excellent gemstone characteristics. They have very good hardness, with a rating of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale. They are also very brilliant gems, with a refractive index about the same as sapphire and ruby. And garnet is one of the few gemstone varieties that is never treated in any way. So when you buy a garnet you'll get a completely natural gemstone.
There are in fact 8 different varieties of garnet available in the market, ranging from the inexpensive pyrope and almandite to the exclusive tsavorite and demantoid. All of these garnet varieties have a similar crystal structure, but they vary slightly in their chemical composition. Here is a brief tour of your choices in garnet for your January birthstone.
- First Published: November-26-2008
- Last Updated: October-07-2010
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