January's Birthstone: Garnet
As January's alluring birthstone, Garnet presents in a large variety of colors from greens, pinkish tones, and purplish reds just to name a few. However, the deep red that many are familiar with is the most common color of Garnet. In fact, the red variety is among the most common of gemstones and has a rich history. The name Garnet comes from the Latin for grain, as the crystals resemble the seeds of a pomegranate.
Different varieties of Garnet include: Tsavorite ( a green color), green Demantoid, orange Spessartine, and purple-red Rhodolite. These all have distinct chemical compositions, and because of this their hardness varies. On the Mohs' Scale of Hardness, the Garnet rates from 6 1/2 to 7 1/2, depending on the variety and its structure.
Garnets have adorned the necks of Egyptian Pharaohs, signet rings used as wax stamps in ancient Rome, and in the Middle Ages, garnet was prized by clergy and nobility.