The birthstone for January, the term ‘garnet’ actually describes a group of more than ten different gemstones of similar chemical composition. Most people only recognize the deep red color of the Garnet, but Garnet actually comes in a rainbow of colors that encompasses every hue except for blue. Some of the pre-Garnet names for these fabulous stones are Spessartite, Tsavorite, Almandite, and Rhodolite. The Garnet stone is comprised of several different minerals, and this is what causes the difference in color between two stones of the same Garnet group. In history, Garnet been used as a talisman and protective stone because it was believed to light up the dark night and protect its wearer from evil and disaster. Garnet is also a hard stone, and good for every-day wear in jewelry.
Rhodolite is a varietal name for rose-pink to red mineral species in the garnet group. It was first described from North Carolina. The name is derived from the Greek “rhodon” for “rose-like”. This coloration, and the commonly inclusion free nature of garnet from this locality, has led to rhodolite being used as gemstone.