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Birthstones for the Month of January from Traditional Birthstones to Non-Traditional Choices

Updated on November 20, 2014
January Birthstone: Garnet Ring
January Birthstone: Garnet Ring | Source

Why Do We Have Birthstones?

Birthstones have been used to celebrate the birth of a child. Throughout countless centuries it has been believed that a birthstone has magical properties that protect the wearer and ward off evil spirits. The bible cites references to birthstones through the Twelve Tribes of Israel represented by gems on the breastplate of Aaron. Each zodiac sign has a birthstone relevant to the stars a person was born under. The reference to birthstones in correlation to the zodiac came by way of writings in the first century AD by Flavius Josephus and in the fifth century AD by St. Jerome. They put together the connection of the gems on Aaron's breastplate and the twelve signs of the zodiac. The stones were to be worn according to the ascendancy of a certain sign. This meant that all twelve gems were worn throughout the year according to the relationship of the stars in the sky.

Over time, the legends of the birthstones were passed down from generation to generation. By the 16th century and due to the arrival of gem traders in Poland it became common to wear only the gem ascribed to your birth month. The powers of gemstones include but are not limited to healing, keeping a body safe, protecting the wearer, and harnessing magical powers.

Different cultures hold different gems as the appropriate gem for a birth month. The meanings of the birthstones and gems vary by culture, too. This is due to the fact that different cultures have interpreted the gems that may have been mounted on the breastplate of Aaron in different ways. Also many argue that the proper way to determine a birthstone should be by astrological sign not by your birth month. In modern times, jeweler's associations have dictated the list of stones to be included on the modern birthstone chart. There is also a chart of traditional birthstones from the 15th century, for the mystical birthstone based on a thousand year old Tibetan text and the Ayurvedic birthstone based on medicinal properties of gems from India.

Birthstones for January

The modern birthstone for January is the garnet while the Zodiac gemstone for Capricorn is ruby. The ancient traditional birthstone for January is garnet but the Hindu traditional stone is serpent stone. Your guardian angel, if you are born in January, is the Angel Gabriel who uses onyx as his talisman.

Let's talk about the properties and the meanings of these birthstones.


Garnet seems to be the most widely recognized stone for the birth month of January. Did you know that red is not the only color that garnets come in. There are eleven garnet colors including orange, lime green, violet, yellow and pink. Garnet has the strength to protect you on a journey and if you are gifted a garnet, it is symbolic of love and the hope of a speedy home coming. Medicinal properties of the red garnet include the spleen and thyroid. A red garnet held over these parts of the body help to cleanse and purify. A garnet stone kept under a pillow may help depression and keep several stones around your office to help increase business.


Ruby is most often known as the modern birthstone of July. Here we are talking about it as the birthstone for Capricorn which many people born in January happen to be. It is the stone of nobility and promotes bliss. It is a great stone for influencing your first chakra as it stimulates the natural survival instinct. It strengthens the heart and brings courage and loyalty as well as helping to increase stamina and vitality. A very strong stone for protection it allows you to love yourself and the spirit.

Serpent Stone

Serpent stone is also called snake stone and it is an ammonite. An ammonite is a fossilized cephalod now extinct related to the nautilus. It is associated with the root chakra and gives assistance in providing insight. In India they are associated with the god Vishnu and are used in religious ceremonies. Feng Shui masters regard the stone as a bearer of prosperity and wealth.

The Angel Gabriel

He is the Archangel Gabriel who is the medium of God's voice through whom the Qur'an was revealed to Muhammad and messages conveyed to the prophets. In the book of Daniel he is specifically called "the man Gabriel" while new age beliefs refer to Gabriel as female or androgynous. He is the bearer of truth and the angel said to blow the trumpet blast that will mark the end of time. His stone is onyx.


Black onyx is associated with the base chakra while green onyx is associated with the heart chakra. It is the zodiac stone of Gemini and Leo and it promotes self confidence and ease. It treats disturbances in bone, bone marrow and blood. It offers strength, permanence and firmness as its charms and banishes grief.

Cleanse Your Stone Before Use or Wear

It is said that stones and gemstones pick up the vibrational energies that surround them. The stones "hold" these vibrations and a stone must be cleansed and purified before using it to heal or protect. It is always a good idea to "cleanse" or "clear" your stone after purchasing it from a jeweler or retailer. A clear or ready gemstone or crystal feels bright and is cold when touched.

Sea Salt

Sea salt is a psychic and healing agent. It will disperse of negative energy and disease in a crystal or gemstone. It is the most common element used in clearing or cleansing. Mix a tablespoon of sea salt with water in a ceramic cup. Do not use a metal cup. Let your stone soak overnight to clear it. Use dry sea salt to cleanse necklaces. Just bury the necklace in sea salt and let sit overnight. Do not use table salt because it contains aluminum which may be harmful.


Smudging is a quick way to cleanse crystals and stones. Use burning sage or cedar. Let the herbs smoke and then pass your gems through the smoke several times in order to clear negativity.


Moonlight clears negative energy from stones. Just hang your crystals or birthstones outside in the moonlight overnight. Do not leave the crystals or gems out in daylight. Sunshine can crack crystals or gems and may dull color.

Choosing the Perfect Birthstone Jewelry Setting

All astrological signs actually have a birth metal, too. For Capricorn that metal is silver. Your Ruby would be appropriately set as a silver ring or necklace if you were to gift a gemstone to a Capricorn. Silver also has the quality of being very feminine while gold is masculine. Hippocrates felt that silver had properties of healing and silver is toxic to certain strains of bacteria. It aids in speech by bringing elegance. Silver is related to the moon and helps intuition. Silver takes on the properties of the gemstone that is set in it. The most common silver used in the production of jewelry may be 92.5 silver which has 7.5 percent copper added to it to give it strength. Its price is much less than gold but has steadily gone up in value.

Gold stimulates the life force and ancient Egyptians ingested it to illicit spiritual purity and used it to fill cavities in teeth. Gold is a high level gem amplifier and affects the solar plexus and heart chakra. It strengthens nerve systems and digestion. An important alloy for those plagued with heart disease or arthritis. Its price per ounce has steadily increased and taken on its highest known value of late. Despite its cost it is still less expensive than platinum.

Platinum is one of the rarest elements known to man. It affects the heart and crown chakras. Platinum is said to be a combination of loving wisdom and the will of God. Those are rare attributes. It brings out courage and strength. It helps alertness and may ease back pain and fatigue.

If you are buying a garnet birthstone to wear and would like to optimise its strengths a gold setting for a necklace would be ideal since it is worn close to the heart. A gold birthstone ring might aid arthritis in the hand. Platinum will add grace to a birthstone setting while silver has healing properties and is less expensive than platinum or gold. Silver birthstone earrings are a stunning gift.

Read Messages From My Mom for humorous insights from mother to daughter.


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    • cabmgmnt profile image

      Corey 5 years ago from Northfield, MA

      Thanks Thundermama,

      I love the fact that we have more than one choice for birthstones based on the Zodiac or other histories. The garnet is one of my favorites because of its deep red color!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 5 years ago from Canada

      I was drawn to this hub as my oldest was born in January and has been asking about her birthstone lately. Fascinating information here and so well researched. Voted up!