The deep, red tone of natural garnet is bold and dramatic. This gemstone has been prized for thousands of years for its beauty and worn by royalty all over the world. Here we take a look at some of the most famous examples of January's birthstone.
A regal history
Garnet has been used since classical times for jewellery which indicated the wearer's status and style. The oldest piece found to date was recovered from an Egyptian tomb and dated around 3500BCE. Garnet was used to craft the rings used by Roman nobility to mark the wax seals on their correspondence and to decorate the ears and necks of the royalty of the ancient world, as shown in the examples above from Egypt and Greece.
In the 1500s an enormous source of garnet was discovered in Central Europe, reinforcing its popularity. This became known as the Bohemian mine and was the hub of a regional jewellery industry until Victorian times. Perhaps the most famous example of garnet jewellery, the Pyrope Hairpin currently held in the Smithsonian Institute, is a Victorian piece made using Bohemian garnet.
A modern favourite
Having fallen out of favour in the early part of the 20th century, today garnet is enjoying a resurgence. This has no doubt been helped by celebrities such as the Duchess of Cambridge and Kate Beckinsale being photographed wearing stunning jewellery fashioned around it. The deep colour of the stones make it a perfect choice for a statement piece that will draw admiring looks from all around.
Whether it is your birthstone or you simply love the lustrous and luxurious hue, natural garnet is a fantastic addition to your jewellery box.