Monday 9 January 2017

Birthstones revisited - January (Garnet)

If you have followed my blog for a while you will no doubt have read some of my posts on birthstones. I have been fascinated by gems and the various legends that surround them for years. Indeed, it was combining my interest with them and my obsession fondness for unicorns that was the inspiration for my Birthstone Unicorn early reader series.

It has been a couple of years since I wrote about birthstones on my blog so I thought it might be fun to revisit some of my earlier posts. 

If you, or someone you know, is celebrating a birthday during January then let me tell you a little more about the lovely Garnet, this month's birthstone. My birthday is this month so it is a particular favourite of mine! Here is my own little birthstone unicorn . . . 

The traditional birthstone for January, the garnet is normally thought of as deep red in colour but they can actually be found in many other colours such as orange, yellow, green, purple, brown and black. Associated with purity, truth, faithfulness and friendship they are also thought to remove negativity in the wearer. I'm definitely going to be wearing my garnet this month to ensure I start the the year with lots of positive thoughts!

There are lots of stories and legends surrounding the garnet below are just a few!

* Legend suggests that the garnet originated with Persephone, the Greek goddess of sunshine. Persephone was captured by Hades, the god of the underworld. Hades gave Persephone some pomegranate seeds to ensure her return. Take a look at the seeds next time you eat a pomegranate!

* The word garnet comes from the Latin 'granatus' which  means seed. 

* Garnet is said to prevent bloodshed between enemies.

* Garnets have been found in burial sites dating back to 3000 BC. It is thought they were placed there to protect the dead on their journey to the afterlife.

* Stories from the Bible say that Noah hung a garnet on the ark to help light the way through the flood.

* Native American tribes decorated dream catchers with garnets and used them on their hunting shields.

* Many cultures have suggested the wearing of a garnet would help calm a fever, protect from poison, reduce swelling and stop bleeding.

* Some Eastern  Legend says that dragon's eyes were garnets.

There are two very different flowers for the month of January the showy carnation and the simple elegance of the snowdrop. 

Traditionally birthstones represent a month of the year based on the Gregorian calendar. There is a poem about the associated birthstones and below is the verse for January. The poem was first published in 1870 by Tiffany & Co. The original author is unknown.

By her who in this month was born
No gem save garnets shall be worn
They will ensure her constancy
True friendship and fidelity

Happy birthday if you are celebrating this month! Stop by the blog next month to read about the February birthstone, Amethyst.


  1. A great post Suzanne, birthstones are very interesting to read about.
    Mine is the Emerald.


    1. Ooh a May birthday then, Yvonne. Thanks for stopping by.

  2. I remember your previous posts, it was around the time I started following you. I didn't know there was a poem - looking forward to April's post :-)

    1. I think it was, Annalisa. April is a sparkling gem!

  3. I remember those posts!
    Preventing bloodshed is good.
    Hope it's a good birthday month for you.

  4. Me - me - me!!! Post coming on Friday ... the garnets were the early stones used in decorations - lots in the Anglo Saxon Hoards ... I didn't know of the poem ... but I'll join with you for the happy month - have a lovely birthday - can't remember when it is .. cheers Hilary

    1. Yay for the January birthdays, Hilary. Mine is 19th.

  5. Maybe many enemies should each get one. Could make things a lot better.

  6. I love reading the folklore behind things like this. Have a fantastic birthday!

    1. Glad you enjoyed it, Christine. I find them fascinating too!

  7. Have a lovely birthday, Suzanne and a very happy January.

  8. What a pretty birthstone unicorn! Hope your birthday month has been going well. Also, loved learning all these facts about garnets. So fascinating!

  9. You just reminded me there Suzanne, I haven't seen any snowdrops yet. It made me smile, as I love to see them in their clusters. Hopefully, I can get out for a walk later today, and I'll be sure to be looking out for them.
    Have a lovely birthday, and enjoy all that the month has to offer you.

  10. Interesting to read about garnet. I never knew all these interesting facts.

  11. My stepdaughter (who is certainly constant and loyal) has her birthday at the end of this month - can't believe she's turning 20! Garnets certainly seem to have been celebrated in lots of different cultures.

  12. Thank you for sharing this, Suzanne. It's great fun to read about the garnet and it's legends.


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