Amethyst: February’s Passionate, Purple Birthstone
Amethyst is a beautiful, semi-precious gemstone gift for February birthdays. Purported to enhance creativity, passion and tranquility, it’s a thoughtful gift for those enduring the long winter months. Amethyst equals romance. St. Valentine, the patron saint of love, famously wore an amethyst ring carved with Cupid.
The Natural Origin of Amethyst
Amethyst is quartz crystal. Quartz is the most abundant mineral in the Earth’s crust, hence the semi-precious status. You can find the gemstone’s long, prismatic crystals plentifully in geodes and caves. Though it naturally occurs in many shades, the sought-after deep purple hue comes from natural irradiation and iron impurities. Amethyst’s unique structure also causes a banding effect, which reveals varying layers of light and dark color.
The History of Amethyst
Amusingly, amethyst derives from amethustos, which means “not drunk,” as ancient Greeks thought it would slow their inebriation. They even carved wine goblets from the gemstone, though more likely the legend evolved just from aristocrats trying to disguise their over indulgence in front of their peers. The belief prevailed, however, and its detoxifying effects made amethyst a popular talisman to promote clear-headedness in both battle and business affairs.
Where Does Amethyst Come From?
Russia was the main source of amethyst until the 1800s. Catherine the Great sent thousands into the Ural Mountains to mine for her prized gemstone which her artisans crafted into hundreds of necklaces, earrings and other jewelry and ornaments. Before then, medieval Catholic clergy prized it as a symbol of piety and celibacy. After the turn of the 19th century, large deposits were discovered in Brazil and its noble rarity diminished. Today, it’s mined everywhere from Africa to South and North America.
How to Care for Amethyst Jewelry
Amethyst rates a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes it a great candidate for jewelry, but over time it may require some polishing with a soft brush and mild soap to maintain its shine.
Channel St. Valentine and begin your love affair with amethyst. Or light up a wintry February birthday with the perfect gift.
Share your amethyst love at #bluenilesparkle.