January Birthstone: Garnet

Modern sensibilities generally discount mystical things as not having true “scientific” value. Yet horoscopes are incredibly common, and when it comes to personal adornment, birthstones are even more popular. There’s something about the human psyche that enjoys identifying with a category and, in some ways, these categories help us construct our identities. (Right photo: skywalker.cochise.edu)

Those born in the month of January have the pleasure of identifying with the beautiful, deep red garnet gemstone. Tiffany & Co published a series of birthstone verses in 1870, which reflect the commonly recognized stones for each birth month. Here’s what the famous jewelers had to say about January (via Wikipedia):

“By her who in January was born
No gem save garnets shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity.”

Traditional: Victorian necklace, cocktail ring, & Edwardian earrings via georgianjewelry.com

Though garnet jewels are beautiful and can be quite expensive, the stone isn’t often considered to be a flashy choice. The red color is full of passion, but it’s deep shade tempers any volatility associated with the hue. In this way garnet does reflect the values of constancy, friendship, and fidelity.

Contempoary: via bergdorfgoodman.com, shoprumor.com, maxandchloe.com, & barneys.com

Whether or not you believe a gemstone truly has the power to instill such qualities, they can at least be reminders that help us draw on our innate capacities for them. According to jewelsforme.com, mystical properties associated with garnet include healing properties for inflammatory diseases and all things related to blood. It’s also thought to encourage self-esteem and truthfulness, as well as warding off nightmares and depression. Just as January is the first month of a new year, garnet is said to be a good stone to wear when embarking on a new venture or moving to a new city.

For 2011 it seems the properties of January’s garnet will be felt all year. The color of the precious stone is similar to Benjamin Moore’s Color of the Year – “vintage wine” – which has be seen as a growing trend in fashion and design. You might expect the color to be relegated to garments for the cool seasons of the year, but spring clothing is also drenched in it. You’ll even find garnet-color jeans!

Velvet top - neimanmarcus.com, dress - maxstudio.com, jeans - shopbop.com, sandals - heels.com

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