Birthstone: January

Hardness: 6-7

Garnet is one of the most versatile stones on the market. It comes in a rainbow of colors, from deep red to tangerine orange to lime green to pale pink, as well as purple, gold and brown.

Garnet is found all over the world, including Africa, Australia, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North America, South America and Southeast Asia. Even though this exciting gem has been mined for thousands of years, new deposits have been found in the last decade.

This stone is actually part of a family of gems with mineral and color differences that include rhodolite, malaya, demantoid, grossular, hessonite, spessartite, almandine, mandarin, and combinations of these varieties. Rhodolite, one of the most popular varieties, ranges from pink to purplish red and is mined in Africa, India and Sri Lanka.

Throughout history, garnets have been prized for their rich hues and supposed mystical properties. The stone was a favorite of ancient Egyptian jewelry artisans. Demantoid garnet was used lavishly by the Tsars of Russia. Travelers carried the gem to protect them against accidents. The gem was thought to protect its wearer from a range of ailments, ward off evil spirits, spark creativity and dispel anger. The stones are also said to light up the night and protect their owners from nightmares. Noah used a garnet lantern to navigate the Ark through 40 days and nights of torrential rain.

The stone is susceptible to nicks and cracks caused by impact. To clean garnet, use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaning is safe for most types of garnet