The gemstone Garnet is the official birthstone for January. It is also the stone for the Zodiac sign Aquarius. Garnet may be given as a gem on the 2nd and 6th wedding anniversary.
Garnet occurs in every color except blue and most varieties are named for their color. Rhodolite is a purplish red, hessonite is the name for an orange, cinnamon, or pinkish variety. Tsavorite is the name given to dark green grossularite. Uvarovite and demantoid are also green varieties.
Pyrope garnets are purplish red, orangy red, crimson, or dark red. Spessartite garnets range from yellow and orange through red to reddish brown to dark black/brown. Color change garnets exhibit a "alexandrite-like" effect when viewed in natural light or artificial lighting.
Garnets range from a 7.0 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale of hardness and are found in the U.S. (Arizona), South Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Myanmar (Burma), Scotland, Switzerland and Tanzania . Garnets are formed when high temperatures and/or pressure is a factor and geologists often use garnets as a gauge of the amount of temperature and pressure that was present during their formation.
Garnet's powers include healing, strength, and protection and it is often worn to relieve inflammations of the skin. It is also believed to regulate the heart and blood flow and aid in curing depression. In earlier times, garnets were exchanged as gifts between friends to demonstrate their affection for each other and to insure that they meet again.
Pyrope garnet (Mg3A12Si3O12), has an isometric crystal system with an refractive index of 1.73-1.76 and a hardness of 7 - 7.5 on the Mohs scale. The specific gravity is 3.65 - 3.87. Pyrope comes from a Greek word meaning “fire like.” The common dark red garnets are a mixture of pyrope and almandine. One popular garnet is chrome pyrope, whose color rivals ruby. These are found in Arizona, where ants bring them to the surface. Hence, they are dubbed, “ant hill garnets.” While their color is superb, they are very dark in tone. Gems are rarely faceted in sizes over one carat because of this.