Welcome to what I hope will be a year-long series about the birthstones for each month!
January’s birthstone is Garnet. Garnet comes in a variety of colors, dark red being the most familiar. Garnet is a group of related minerals. Red Garnets are usually Almandine with a deep wine magenta-red hue, or Rhodolite, which is typically lighter magenta-red (could be considered dark pink). Another red Garnet variety is Pyrope, which can be more deep orange-red. Spessartine ranges from a warm red to orange to amber yellow. Hessonite is burnt-orange to reddish-brown. Grossular Garnet, AKA Grossularite, is mostly known for its green color, but technically comes in other colors as well. Tsavorite is a specific type of Grossular Garnet that is an intense Emerald-like green. Garnet can form as crystals or in massive form. Rarely, Pyrope or Almandine Garnet forms in a very dark opaque burgundy red or purple with a star effect (asterism) caused by inclusions. This is called Star Garnet, which is the Idaho state stone. Garnet is a fairly hard gemstone, but can be brittle and chip easily on cut edges. So take care with Garnet rings and bracelets especially, and store/transport all Garnet jewelry with the stones wrapped for protection or separated from other gemstones.
Most Garnet that is made into beads is lesser-quality Garnet that is dyed (typically the magenta-red color), and some may not even be colorfast. I try to avoid dyed stone beads. Garnet pieces in my shop are usually made with natural color Pyrope Garnet, or natural Almandine and sometimes Rhodolite. I also occasionally work with the other varieties.
My Garnet pieces range from sparkling faceted beads to raw rough-cut nuggets. Below are some Garnet pieces from my shop, all designed and created by me with Sterling and Argentium Silver. Note that chain dangle earrings can be shortened upon request (at no charge). I take the time to photograph every piece of stone jewelry in my shop, so you get the exact piece shown.
See something you like, but want customized? Feel free to ask! Please contact me before purchasing so the price and/or information can be adjusted. (You can reach me using the email link under Stay Connected, below.) Allow extra time for custom or semi-custom orders. Some orders will require a down payment to begin work.