January signals the beginning of the new year and all the possibilities it may hold. Beyond ringing in a fresh start, the month also brings a slew of birthdays.
People born in January can have one of two astrological signs: Capricorn (born between January 1 and 19) or Aquarius (January 20 to 31). The carnation and snowdrop flowers also represent those born in January.
But what about January's birthstone? Each month has at least one gemstone. Here's what you need to know about January's birthstone, including its colors and symbolism.
Garnet is the birthstone for January. Its name derives from the medieval Latin "granatus," which means "pomegranate," according to the Geological Institute of America (GIA). The name is also tied to the Middle English "gernet," or "dark red," the American Gem Society reports.
The gem is aptly named since it is most often red. Red garnet has been highly regarded throughout the centuries. Pharaohs in ancient Egypt wore red garnet necklaces, while nobility and clergy in the Middle Ages had a preference for the stone, GIA reports. In ancient Rome, rings with garnet engravings were used to stamp important documents.
Garnet does, however, have several other colors, including orange, green, purple, blue and yellow. The color of a garnet depends on its chemical composition, according to the International Gem Society. For instance, almandine garnets range from deep red to purple. While andradite garnets can be brown-red, yellow-orange, black, or green.
Garnets can be found across the globe in Namibia, Tanzania, Myanmar, Brazil, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Sri Lanka, according to GIA.
Wearing garnets is said to bring good health, wealth and happiness. In Indian astrology, a garnet is believed to get rid of negative emotions and foster confidence, GIA reports. During the medieval ages, garnets were used as a remedy for inflammatory diseases and "to soothe the angry heart."
Besides being the birthstone for January, garnets are also a traditional gift for the second wedding anniversary.
What color is my birthstone? Learn which gemstone represents each month and what it means.
Want to learn more about other month's birthstones?
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: January birthstone: This shimmering gem represents the first month.