January can sometimes feel like a monthlong downer. Weeks of holiday playing get replaced with one measly three-day weekend (if you're lucky); the weather is absolutely abysmal, and in general staying indoors manages to trump all possible plans. If you've got a birthday in this 31-day stretch, you might feel you've eternally been handed the short end of the stick. Not so: January babies have a birthstone — the garnet — that's as glorious as April's diamond, May's emerald, and July's ruby. That's not nothing.
Looks aside, the garnet possesses a storied history as a warrior's stone; it adorned swords and shields as a talisman for medieval crusaders and allegedly was nestled in Don Juan's ring. In The Metaphysical Book of Gems and Crystals, author Florence Mégemont says the "Garnet represents the primordial fire, the creation of the world out of chaos, purification, and love." Kind of appealing even if you still think it only represents a cool ass piece of jewelry you'd like to wear.
Find out more about the illustrious birthstone in the slideshow ahead. To accompany the brief history lesson are 21 gorgeous rings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings for you to shop — January-born or not.