Garnets are the January birthstone and are named after the red pomegranate fruit. The stone is also known as the blood ruby because of its deep red color. Garnet is a variety of quartz that’s mined in Brazil, Madagascar, Russia, South Africa and Swaziland.
Garnets have a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs Scale and are found at depths ranging from 200 to 1,000 feet below ground level. The most popular varieties of garnet include Almandine (red), Spessartine (green) and Grossularite (orange).
Garnets have been used for centuries to help heal wounds and strengthen bones. In medieval times, garnets were believed to protect against evil spirits that caused illness or injury.
The gem’s name references the bright-red pomegranate fruit, although it actually comes in a diverse range of colors ranging from yellow through orange to pinkish red tones! This variety of garnet was named after its resemblance to this fruit due to its red hue — hence its nickname “blood ruby."
GARNET BIRTHSTONE CARE & CLEANING
Most garnets are not treated. Rarely, however, some garnets might be fracture filled, whereby treaters try to improve the apparent clarity of the gem by filling surface-reaching breaks with a glass-like substance. Such treated stones require special care. Regardless, use of a soft brush with warm soapy water is always safe for cleaning garnets. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe, except for stones that have fractures or have been fracture filled. Steam cleaning is not recommended.