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 January
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 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