February Birthstone: Amethyst
Color: Amethyst occurs in hues from light pinkish violet to deep purple and can have secondary hues of red and blue. Light to dark purple; most expensive is the deep royal purple; may show some noticeable color shift
Origins: Brazil and Zambia are the primary source of amethysts mined today and is also found in Uruguay, Bolivia, Canada, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibi, Russia, Sri Lanka and the Arizona in the United States. The most important amethyst deposits are in Brazil, namely the “Palmeira” amethysts of Rio Grande do Sul and the “Maraba” amethysts of Para.
History: The name comes from the ancient Greek word, amethustos, meaning not intoxicated, and a reference to the belief that the stone protected its wearer from drunkenness.
- Amethyst is the most valuable variety of quartz and is featured in the British Crown Jewels and they were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.
- Ancient Egyptians used amethyst to guard against guilty and fearful feelings.
- The famous inventor and artist Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethysts were able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.
- According to folklore, this stone guarantees success in war, sports, business, and other competitive endeavors. Amethyst is believed to help with severe headaches, pancreas, backache and alcoholism.
- Medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets for protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people and keep them cool-headed.
- Known as the Bishop’s stone in medieval Europe, amethyst is still worn by Catholic Bishops.
- Amethyst symbolizes piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom and is believed to be an apt symbol of the Age of Aquarius.
- In antiquity people believed that the cosmos was reflected in gemstones. Amethyst was assigned to the planet Neptune.
Care: This gemstone can be safely cleaned with warm soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe; steam cleaning is not recommended and this stone should not be subjected to heat