Garnet is the birthstone for January and the gemstone of the week. Garnet comes in many hues, except for blue, and most varieties are named for their color. The deep maroon color is the color associated with January and is called Almandine garnet. Garnets are one of the largest families of gemstones and the coloring depends on the minerals in the stone. It is a popular gemstone and is suitable for all types of jewelry since it has a hardness of 7.5 on the Moh scale.
The word "garnet" comes from the Latin word "granatum" which refers to the pomegranate and the color red. The use of Garnet as beads and in inlay work goes back as far as 3100 B.C. and 2300 B.C. in Egypt. Garnets have been found entombed with Egyptian pharaohs as a prized possession for the after life. Red Garnets have been prized by nobility across the ages. With the discovery of the famous Garnet mines in Bohemia, Czechoslovakia in 1500 A.D., Bohemia became a center for jewelry manufacturing and gem cutting. This increased the demand for the gem in Europe and increased the price. The popularity of this gemstone started to fade in the 1800's.
Enhancements are usually heat treatments or irradiation. Some garnets are dyed. When you are shopping for garnets, remember, all treatments must be disclosed.