Updated: Jan 16
Where did the concept of birthstones originate from, and who decided which gemstone correlated to which month?
We see the symbolism of the number 12 reach back through the pages of history. In The Book of Exodus in the Bible, Aaron wore armour with 12 precious gemstones mounted on his breastplate, symbolising the 12 tribes of Isreal. Jesus Christ, in later years, had his 12 apostles. We have 12 months in the year and 12 signs in the zodiac. All of these are strands that weave into the modern-day concept of birthstones. Between the 15th and 20th centuries, traditional birthstones started to gather conceptual awareness in western culture, and it was in 1870 that the collection of traditional birthstones was published for the first time in a Gregorian calendar. It was in the year of 1912 that the National Association of Jewelers in the USA gathered together in Kansas, USA. It was at this meeting they officially adopted the comprehensive birthstone list. It was updated in 1952 to a modernised birthstone list, and again in 2019, gemstones Alexandrite and Tanzanite joined the ranks.
January is the only month on these lists that features only one gemstone, the same gemstone, representing both the traditional and the modern list. This gemstone is the ever timeless and oh-so-beautiful Garnet. Though limiting it might appear for January babies to have only one choice of gemstone, Garnet is found in a magnificent arc of colour with options that suit the most modest budget through to prices that rival top-quality sapphires, rubies and emerald.
The Garnet family has 6 recognised species, categorised as Andradite, Uvarovite, Grossularite, Spessarite, Almandine, and Pyrope. Additionally, there are 11 more varieties of Garnet that are colour-based and encompass other unique properties. To find out more about the specific types of popular Garnet, CLICK HERE to read our Garnet - Offical New Zealand Buyers Guide; our official guide also offers price expectations for the different types of Garnet.
As the representation of January, Garnet symbolises love and luck, brings the wearer good health, and aids in loyal and harmonious friendship.
The Sapphire Merchant has an ever-expanding range of beautiful Garnet gemstones ready to find their January born owner! If you have specific requirements for your birthstone, don't hesitate to contact Gemma today for more options.