This year, I’m planning to kick off each month with a little about its birthstone. Jac & Elsie offers a variety of customizable birthstone pieces, and I adore the mythology and lore behind each stone.
January’s birthstone is a garnet, a gemstone most commonly found in deep, dark red. It’s not nearly as bright as July’s ruby and can even appear to be a shade of black, though some garnets can be a shade of green, yellow, orange or earth-toned.
Garnets are one of the tougher stones, which means they don’t scratch as easily as something softer, like October’s opal.
“Garnet” comes from the Latin “granatus,” or grain. It references the crystal’s roundish shape and its color, similar to the seed of a pomegranate.
One mythology story is related to the pomegranate: In Greek mythology, Hades, the god of the underworld, fell in love with Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine. He kidnapped her and forced her to live in the underworld as his new queen.
Hades agreed to release his bride to her mother, Demeter, but only for a portion of the year. He gave Persephone pomegranate seeds–in ancient mythology, this meant she would have to return to her captor.
Sources: Gemstone.org, Burke Museum
How to wear it
I have two garnets in my jewelry collection: Both are yellow gold rings and include small garnet chips. As yellow gold becomes more popular in trendy fashion, I bet we’ll see more garnets. They absolutely pair with silver or white gold, but the richness of yellow gold better complements the stone. I find the garnet-silver combo cold, somehow. I totally want No. 11 below.
Happy birthday to you January babies, and here’s hoping there’s some gorgeous garnets in your future. If you’re shopping for a January birthday and don’t want to spend triple digits on the beauties above, hop over to Jac & Elsie. I use a beautiful deep red Czech glass bead to simulate garnets, and I have a number of necklaces that are easy to customize by birthstone.