Calling All January Babies: Here's What To Know About Your Birthstone, From Crystal Experts
Every month has a designated birthstone (and birth month flower), and for those born in January, their birthstone is garnet. Here's what to know about this stone, from its properties to its uses, according to crystal experts.
The meaning behind birthstones.
The birthstones we're familiar with today weren't officially chosen until the early 1900s, though the tradition of birthstones has been around for centuries.
As founder and educational director of the Love and Light School of Crystal Therapy, Ashley Leavy, previously explained to mindbodygreen, birthstones have roots in both Western astrology and Ayurveda, and the National Association of Jewelers standardized the official birthstones in 1912—because there were so many birthstone options across various traditions.
Birthstones even appear in the book of Exodus (28:17-20), where it's written that 12 gemstones were fixed on the prophet Aaron's breastplate. "There were 12 stones, one for each of the names of the sons of Israel, each engraved like a seal with the name of one of the 12 tribes," the Bible reads.
Nowadays, birthstones are a popular gift for everything from birthdays to holidays to anniversaries and more.
The January birthstone: Garnet
The birthstone for January is garnet, a type of silicate mineral that comes in a variety of colors. In terms of the birthstone, however, red is the most sought-after color of garnet.
As crystal expert Heather Askinosie tells mindbodygreen, this stone has a rich history and can be found all over the world. In some interpretations of the Old Testament, she notes, the light beaming from garnet was used to steer Noah's Ark out of the darkness. "A lot of the ancient civilizations have used it as a stone of protection," she adds.
Today, garnet is found in Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, Mexico, the U.S., and more, Askinosie explains.
Meanings & symbolism of garnet.
Garnet has a variety of meanings, making it a powerful crystal to add to your arsenal, whether you were born in January or not. It's associated with things like grounding, as well as passion, and has a close connection to the root chakra, which is all about our sense of security, safety, and groundedness.
As Yulia Van Doren, crystal expect and founder of Goldirocks, previously told us, "It's very important to have the grounding of a 'safe space' in order to be able to bravely explore unknown ideas and unchartered passions." This makes it a good stone to travel with, she adds.
And according to Askinosie, "passion is like a muscle that you need to keep struggling to keep strong," and garnet can help you ignite that passion. "So, the crystal recipe for passion is to be present and to be present and enthusiastic. Garnet helps you to get to the bottom of what's keeping you from feeling passionate," she explains, adding, "It helps to remind you that passion is not external; it comes from within. It helps you to shift your attitude."
Garnet can also be useful for helping you keep your boundaries firmly established and respected while also helping to remove your inhibitions and blockages, Van Doren says, so that you feel safe and supported exploring your soul's true desires.
In terms of working with this stone, Askinosie says a good affirmation to use alongside this stone is, "I am passionate." Here's another one of her favorite ways to harness the passionate energy of garnet:
- While holding a piece of garnet in your nondominant hand, write down 10 things you're passionate about.
- Circle one of those passions from your list that you absolutely love.
- Then, while holding the garnet, think about how you will take action on this passion so that you can have the life that you desire.
How to take care of garnet.
In terms of caring for your garnet, it is a relatively hard stone, and so it is safe to clean with water. However, like most precious gems, you won't want to leave it submerged in water very long to avoid damage over time.
Similarly, you should keep your garnet out of the sun for prolonged periods of time as well, because this can cause its rich color to fade.
As far as energetically cleansing your crystal, any of your preferred cleansing or charging techniques would be good, such as leaving it overnight in the light of the full moon, using smoke or sound, or even your own breath. (Check out our guide to cleansing and charging crystals for more inspo.)
You certainly don't have to be a January baby to enjoy all the benefits and properties of this powerful stone. Whether you're looking to reignite your passions, or get a bit of grounding, garnet is a stone you won't want to omit from your collection.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.