The modern birthstone of January is the garnet. The red garnet to be precise, while garnets come in many different colors, red is the color used almost universally as the birthstone of January.

As an alternative to the red garnet you can simply pick any other type of garnet as it comes in many different colors. You can read more about this below under the heading January Birthstone Alternatives.

Red Garnet: The Birthstone of JanuaryRed garnet collection, January birthstone

The name garnet is derived from the Latin word for ‘pomegranate’. The first garnets that were found were all red (other colors were likely thought to be a different type of gemstone) and the pomegranate resembled the look and color of them.

The garnet is an amazing looking gemstone and luckily it is quite affordable. Not as cheap as amethyst or citrine for example, but far cheaper than rubies, diamonds or zultanite for example.

The exception would be Tsavorite garnet, but those are green. All the red variants, pyrope, spessartite and almandine, should not set you back more than $50 for a high quality 1 carat round or oval gemstone.

As an ancient gemstone, the first references to it can be found over 5000 years ago, it is surrounded by legend and lore. Because of its blood red color it was associated with war, victory and protection from harm.

Nowadays the red garnet is a stone of love, passion, friendship and loyalty. This makes it an ideal present to a loved one or a good friend. Especially if they were born in January!

January Birthstone Alternatives

Usually you can get some nice alternatives by looking at the traditional or zodiac birthstones if you don’t like your birthstone or when it is too expensive. Unfortunately that is not the case for the birthstone of January. As you can see in the poem below the traditional birthstone for January is also the garnet.

By her who in this month (January) is born
No gem save garnets should be worn;
They will ensure her constancy,
True friendship, and fidelity.

To make matters worse the zodiac birthstone for January is either the ruby or the garnet. The problem being that ruby looks a lot like a garnet (red), but is far more expensive.

So if you don’t like the color of the garnet you are not in a good spot. However, if you want to take a little liberty with the convention that the garnet must be red you can simply pick almost any other color you want. As the garnet comes in red, green, yellow and orange in every hue you can imagine. There are even color-change garnets that change color when going from daylight to incandescent light.

For more articles on birthstones feel free to take a look at: Birthstones Overview


  1. Sarah Hendrickson
    December 30, 2012 at 1:33 am — Reply

    Sure I’ve only got one birthstone choice, because I was born in January, but at least its a great one. I love the different types of red you can buy and they never break the bank. Last year I got myself a nice ring for under 50 bucks and I think I’ll go for a necklace this time around do you have any advice on what I should look for?


    • December 30, 2012 at 1:51 am — Reply

      A garnet necklace can look amazing, there’s a few things to keep in mind though. The most important difference with a garnet ring is that to make it stand out you need a large center stone. Either that or a smaller stone surrounded with a contrasting gemstone (diamonds, peridot or blue gemstones like sapphire or tanzanite come to mind).

      Due to this a garnet necklace or pendant is a bit more expensive than a ring, but like you said it shouldn’t break the bank. You can get a great looking piece for between $100-$200 if you go for silver. If you insist on gold you’ll likely be looking at $350+ because of the weight of a necklace.

      A nice place to start your search is at Gemvara. They’re not the cheapest around, but they are honest and usually have a large selection. You can take a look here: January Birthstone Jewelry.

      Hope this helps!

      • Sarah Hendrickson
        December 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm — Reply

        Thanks for the reply, saw a few lovely pieces, some of them are quite expensive, but that’s the way it is with necklaces. Maybe I’ll get myself another ring instead that should save quite a bit of money.


  2. Saini
    March 22, 2013 at 11:26 pm — Reply

    Hi, I read somewhere that its even better to wear ring with three garnets in it. If there are more than three garnets then is it good? I would appreciate if any body can help me.

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