The birthstone for January is the garnet, shown above in a 1920’s – 30’s Bohemian gold pendant.
Although garnets—which encompass a range of different chemical structures—may be found in various hues, red is the color most-associated with the gemstone. The name “garnet” may have been derived (over the centuries) from the word “pomegranate”—and, indeed, a mounted cluster of the stones does resemble the seeds of the fruit split-open.
Garnets have been used decoratively for at least 3,000 years before Christ. Most often, the stones were mounted within a gold framework or within gold cells, in a technique called Garnet Cloisonné. This style of mounting is still popular in modern times and the best examples come from the Czech Republic and other Bohemian countries.
In addition to its use in jewelry-making, industrial grade garnets are used in abrasive applications like sandpapering (on fine woodwork) and the water-jet cutting of metals.
Garnets are mined in Europe, Asia and North America—including upstate New York. The garnet is the official gemstone of New York State.
Holiday Week Hours—26 December through 3 January—Noon ’til 6:00 pm.