When it comes to fine jewelry trends, the use of non-traditional stones has grown in popularity. More shoppers are looking for styles that are unique, offer healing benefits, and promote positive energy. Diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds (the traditional precious stones) remain in high demand, but interest has recently swelled for "the new precious.” This term is used to define semi-precious stones such as lapis, tiger’s eye, and tourmaline.
Garnet jewelry is part of this group of gorgeous and affordable stones, and for good reason. The January birthstone is durable, lustrous, versatile, and is said to offer curative powers. Plus, garnets come in more than just the color red! Below you’ll find everything you need to know about garnet jewelry, so you can rock this emerging fine jewelry trend.
One of the most plentiful gemstones, garnets are truly special. There are few gems that offer its variety in size, color, and luster. The garnet gets it name from the Latin word “Garanatus,” meaning “seedlike,” in reference to a pomegranate. Since garnets look like bright red pomegranate seeds, the reference is very fitting. The stone was known as “carbuncle” in ancient times, referring to a red boil or a blister. Garnets come in a rainbow of colors, from orange and green to violet and dark gold. In the past, gems were identified by color, and many garnets were thought to be rubies.
Garnets were used as a sacred stone by the Mayans, Native American Indians, and the Aztecs. The stone was also used as protection from nightmares and for travelers who were far from home. Legend says that Noah used the inner light of garnet as a lamp on the bow of the Ark. Garnets were believed to dispel melancholy in Europe during the Middle Ages, and represented the sun in Spanish astrology.
Many women wore garnets because of the gemstone’s ancient connections with the feminine life force, and they were also used for immunity from wounds during conflicts. They became very popular in the 18th and 19th centuries in Europe, and were used in a great deal of jewelry in Victorian times.
Garnets are considered a great gift that symbolize friendship, peace, prosperity, good health, and trust. The stone is believed to give the wearer eternal happiness, health, and wealth. Also said to regulate the heart and blood, garnets balance energies and stimulate metabolism. One of the strongest stated virtues of wearing garnets is that they help to overcome depression, bringing about a calming effect. Plus, the stone symbolizes commitment and fidelity in marriage, making garnets a wonderful stone for a wedding or engagement ring.
Choose the garnet color that appeals to you. Colored gems are not subject to the same classifications of clarity as diamonds are. They are usually valued for their color. The clarity of a garnet depends on its type. For example, rhodolites and almandines usually do not have inclusions (any imperfections in the gemstone’s appearance) that are visible to the naked eye, while orange garnets, such as hessonites, may have inclusions that can be seen. Garnets are found in all shapes and sizes, but some types such as demantoid are more common in smaller sizes. Whatever cut you choose, it should sparkle and reflect light back evenly across the entire garnet.
It’s safe to clean your garnet jewelry with warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid steamers and sudden temperature changes. Be sure to rinse well after you wash your garnets. Ultrasonic treatments may also be used for any garnets except the demantoid variety.
Garnets can be worn every day in the form of earrings, rings, and necklaces, with the exception of demantoid garnet, which is more suited to necklaces and pins. Try wearing deep red garnets with different colors in your wardrobe—a black and white outfit with red garnets looks spectacular and polished. Olive green, deep teal, or forest green go great with garnet jewelry.
Plante Jewelers offers a wonderful selection of lovely January birthstone jewelry to match your personal style. Our custom jewelry designers in Swansea, Massachusetts can help you create a garnet jewelry piece that is purely your own.
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