Red garnets are the most common, but in fact, garnet comes in a wide variety of colours ranging from black, green, clear and numerous shades of red. it occurs in every color of the spectrum, except blue. Any of these colors is permissible to wear as the January birthstone.
The variety of colours is due to metal impurities such as iron, aluminum and manganese. A few garnets look as if they have a star in their center. This look is produced when tiny fibers of the metal impurities form within the piece of garnet.
The name "garnet" is derived from the Latin "granatum" meaning pomegranate" because the
crystals resemble the red color and seed-like form of this fruit.
The Garnet has long been associated with fire and illumination for many ancient cultures. It is said to be a jewel with the capacity to illuminate the night sky. Garnet was believed to be hung in the Ark by Noah to light the path and the inside of the boat. There are many similar legends that involve garnet and it's lighting capabilities.
Garnets have also been used by various Indian tribes to enhance the potency of fire and to heal and enlighten their people. Among these tribal groups are Mayans, Aztecs, certain African tribes, Native American and South American Indians.