January’s Fiery Birthstone - The Mystical Meaning of Garnet
Adored for its rich red hues, garnet invokes a sense of nobility, confidence, and passion. Best known as the birthstone for January, garnet is an iconic symbol of love and romance.
Illuminating light off of its brilliant cuts and crevices, the garnet stone has captivated the hearts of many for centuries. Coming from the latin word for seed, garnet’s name pays homage to the deep red pomegranate seeds these stones resemble.
Beloved by kings and queens throughout the ages, this stone has truly stood the test of time, and is revered for its durability, beauty, and rich, significant meaning.
Garnet, part of the silicate mineral family, is most commonly formed within metamorphic rocks. Through processes of extreme heat and pressure, the stunning, sparkling garnet stone emerges. Far more than just a geological treasure, this deep red stone possesses mystical properties and significant spiritual meaning.
Keep reading to learn all about the meaning of Garnet, the cherished January birthstone.
Table of Contents
The Story Behind Garnet’s Unique Color
Although garnet is most popularly found in shades of red, many are surprised to find that it also comes in pink, green, black, brown, and orange. However, the most common color of red is known as a symbol of love and passion.
This distinctly deep red hue of the garnet birthstone is tied to a meaning of romance, and is often given as a gift of affection. Garnet’s spiritual meaning makes it a wonderful choice to give to those you care about most. Whether you give this stunning stone as a present to a romantic partner, friend, or family member, anyone will immediately feel your warmth and devotion.
Reminiscent of fire, the garnet stone sparks passion and intrigue. Reds are always quite intense hues and this birthstone is no exception. It makes a bold statement, and is sure to fill the wearer with an unshakeable sense of confidence.
Geologically speaking, there are a variety of different garnet crystals, including hessonite, rhodolite, pyrope, and more. The most common type, with its red and violet hues, is almandite.
The change in colors and hues is said to arise from varying traces of chemicals found within the crystal’s structure. Calcium, aluminum, magnesium, and iron will all have an effect on the color that the garnet birthstone takes on.
Found in striking green hues, the tsavorite variety and the demantoid variety are the rarest of all the garnets. Sometimes reflecting even blue tones, these two varieties drive the highest prices due to their uniqueness. The meaning of garnet stone found in this color is related to growth, vitality, and rejuvenation.
The other two rarest and most south-after varieties of garnet are rhodolite and spessartite. Both of these types are found in shades of bright, sparkling red and orange. Strength, both physically and esoterically, is the spiritual meaning of garnet in this vibrant and rare variety.
The Formation of a Garnet Birthstone
Curious about the scientific processes behind the formation of this radiant birthstone? Keep reading to learn all about the natural process and the synthetic process.
The Natural Process
Found in a variety of places around the world, the garnet birthstone has the largest amount of deposits in Australia. In fact, Australia is home to more than half of all the world’s garnet production. Port Gregory, located in Western Australia, is the world’s biggest garnet mine.
In this location, the majority of garnets produced are of the almandine variety, which are best known for their deep red hue. The garnet birthstone can also be found in other areas of the world such as China, the United States, and India, and is available in a range of colors.
Depending on the variety of garnet, its formation process differs slightly, thus changing its color, size, and shape. However, most garnet stones are formed from the presence of extreme heat and pressure.
Beginning with a sedimentary rock containing high amounts of aluminum, this rock is then metamorphosed. The process of metamorphosis, due to pressure and heat, transforms the mineral as a whole. Re-organizing and recrystallizing, the freshly formed and changed minerals become their sparkly, new version of garnet.
As mentioned, garnets most commonly form from metamorphic rocks, however, they are also found occurring in igneous rocks. Granite and granite pegmatites are examples of igneous rocks that are capable of creating the garnet birthstone.
Almandine, the most popular and widely found variety of garnet crystal, is formed from metamorphic rocks and the metamorphic process. Unsurprisingly, those rich, red, fiery hues are birthed from exceptional heat.
Large amounts of garnet are formed at the boundary of convergent plates. At these locations, a stone called shale, a sedimentary rock, is put under great pressure and extreme heat.
These forces set off the process of metamorphosis, turning the minerals into very small grains of garnet. Over time, the metamorphosis process advances and makes the garnet crystal larger and larger.
The tsavorite variety, the rarest and most valuable of all the garnet stones is renowned for its captivating green hue. This particular garnet type is naturally created by contact metamorphosis. This occurs when a particular type of limestone is transformed into marble.
Spessartine, another variety of garnet, is found in shades of sparkling orange and red. This distinct type can be discovered in granite pegmatites. Pyrope, a rich red garnet crystal, is formed in pieces of peridotite which comes from deep-source volcanic eruptions.
Other natural processes that create the garnet stone include contact metamorphism, lava flows, volcanic eruptions, magma chambers found subsurface, as well as weathering and erosion. These processes all have the ability to transform rocks into garnet.
The Synthetic Process
Natural gemstones and crystals are rare and hard to discover, and yet their popularity is only ever-growing. The reality is that the Earth’s supply of these geological treasures is not finite, which is why the creation of synthetic stones has been gaining traction.
Using a variety of tactics and experiments, scientists around the world have been able to mimic natural processes of the Earth to create a copy of just about every crystal in the world. Garnet is one such stone that is being made in a synthetic version.
Created in laboratories, synthetic gemstones impressively share the same physical, visual, and chemical properties as their natural counterparts. Boasting fewer inclusions, more consistent color, and more congruous shapes and cuts, these synthetic stones are popular on the market.
First initiated in the late 1800’s, synthetic gem processing has evolved significantly over time. Although there are many ways to create these look-alike gemstones, the majority of producers rely on two different methods - melt or solution.
The difference between melt and solution is that the melt’s composition is equal to the crystal being formed, whereas in solution, the composition of the solution is different to the crystal being formed.
There are a number of different methods that fall under the categories of melt and solution. Which process is used will depend entirely upon which stone is being created. Some popular melt methods include crystal pulling and flame fusion. As for solution methods, flux growth and hydrothermal growth are generally the top choices.
Creating synthetic garnet crystals means that the melt process is used. In specific, this melt process is called “crystal pulling” or the “Czochralski Process”, which was first tested in the early 1900s. Crystal pulling to create a garnet stone starts by melting nutrients in a vessel.
The synthetic garnet then develops and grows from a small seed that has been previously dipped into that nutrient melt. As the garnet seed grows, it is slowly pulled away from the melt. These laboratory creations can be grown quite quickly, as opposed to the natural variety which can take millions of years.
The Many Shapes of Garnet
The garnet stone is unique in that it is classified as isostructural. This means that every garnet, no matter the variety or color, all have matching crystal structures. With the same structure, comes a similarity in shape and properties across the board for garnets.
The majority of garnet crystals are symmetrical and cube-based, with the most commonly-found shape being rhombic dodecahedron.
A tongue-twister of a word, this shape refers to a crystal with twelve sides and diamond-shaped faces. This is the iconic shape that many people know and love as the garnet crystal; perfect for fitting onto jewelry.
Another member of the polyhedron family, trapezohedral, is the other popular shape when it comes to garnet stones. A trapezohedral is classified as a figure with eight faces, all congruent in their diamond shape.
Garnets used for jewelry are typically oval and marquise in shape. Marquise refers to an elliptical shape with a pointed top and bottom - especially beautiful when used for rings.
Round brilliant is another classic garnet shape that fits a variety of jewelry designs. Hiding any inclusions or imperfections, the round brilliant garnet offers top-notch shine and radiance.
No matter which shape is chosen to display this stunning red stone, the significant spiritual meaning of garnet never falters. Whether it is marquise shaped, pyramid shaped, or oval shaped, a garnet stone dazzles with its brilliant crystal structure and vibrant red hues. Reflecting light in a captivating way, the garnet crystal meaning relates to romance, love, and passion.
The Rainbow Hues of Garnet
Many people are surprised to find out that the traditionally red garnet can actually be discovered in a range of different colors and hues. Garnet is available in just about every color of the rainbow, including blue, green, pink, black, and brown. Depending on varying chemical reactions, and the inclusion of chromium or iron, the color of the garnet stone will change.
The most common color of garnet is a deep red with hints of purple. Related to the garnet stone’s meaning, this gorgeous crystal exudes noble and regal energy. This fiery red hue has coined garnet as a stone of romance and passion - perfect for gifting between loved ones.
The iconic red of garnet is believed to come from the presence of the chemical, chromium. More than just spiritually healing, the garnet birthstone’s meaning is also said to improve physical health; specifically with the heart and circulatory system.
Among the most rare colors of garnet are peach, green, and clear. Known as tsavorite garnets, the green variety was found for the first time in 1967 in the Tsavo National Park, located in Kenya.
Green garnets are considered to be extremely rare, and are treasured as stunning additions to lavish jewelry designs. The green garnet meaning is connected to growth. Similar to plants and trees, this soothing hue rejuvenates the soul with life-giving energy.
Peach garnets, another highly sought-after and rare garnet variety, are generally pale with low saturation. Also known as Malaya garnet, this hue is almost exclusively found in Tanzanian mines. With a pink-orange range, this stone’s pastel hues are stunning when fitted into ring and necklace designs.
Explore Garnet Jewelry Designs
Available in a wide range of colorful hues, the garnet stone is a sparkling treasure of the Earth. Most commonly found in deep red hues, this January birthstone is beloved for the loving energy it exudes.
Promoting passion, romance, and friendship, this affectionate crystal makes a wonderful gift to give a loved one, or is the perfect way to practice self-love. Connected to the sacral chakra, this rich red stone tunes the wearer to the frequency of abundance and prosperity.
More than just its spiritual meaning, garnet is also a wonderful aid in physical health - especially when it comes to the heart and circulatory system. Packed with healing benefits, garnet’s striking appearance is just an added bonus.
Interested in adding a garnet crystal to your collection? Visit our website to browse our garnet