Amethyst Birthstone, the royal purple stone
If you were born in February, your birthstone is Amethyst – the purple variety of quartz, one of the most popular semi-precious gemstones in history, that has captivated mankind for millennia. Amethyst is also the stone that traditionaly celebrates the 6th marriage anniversary.
The February birthstone has colours ranging from light lavender to deep purple or violet hues. It receives its purple colours from the presence of iron and natural irradiation under Earth’s surface (amethysts being a type of quartz often found in geodes amidst cooled lava).
Because of its rare beauty and the expense it took to create the colour for fabric, purple has long been considered a regal color, so amethysts jewellery was often reserved for or saught after by royalty. Amethyst was considered a rare gemstone comparable to diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds, up until the early 19th century when that all changed. Read on about this interesting gemstone to find out why.
The Norwegian Amethyst Parure worn by Crown Princess Mette-Marit
The Duchess of Windsor’s Cartier Bib-style Amethyst Necklace
The Napoleonic or Swedish Amethyst Parure Tiara worn by Princess Madeleine
February Birthstone Origins & History
Russia was the major source of amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits were found in Brazil. Once as rare as ruby or emerald, amethyst was suddenly available in abundance.
Today, the most important sources of amethyst are in Africa and South America. Brazil still being a major supplier, especially its southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul, though the rough amethyst mined there tends to have a lighter color than amethyst found in other countries. Amethyst from Brazil sometimes forms in hollow, crystal-lined geodes so large you can stand in them.
The name “amethyst” derives from the Greek amethystos, which means „not drunk” or “a remedy against drunkenness”, a benefit long ascribed to the purple birthstone. Because of its wine-like color, early Greek mythology associated the gem with Bacchus, the god of wine.
Ancient Egyptians were believed to use amethysts in amulets as a form of prayer and for protection from harm. And Catherine the Great of Russia also had a liking for the gem that led to a stunning collection of amethyst necklaces, earrings and other ornamental jewellery. Also, the famous jewellery connoisseur Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, made a memorable statement when she wore a lavish Cartier-designed Amethyst Bib Necklace to a gala in Versailles in 1953.
"The Empress of Uruguay" largest amethyst geode, on display in the Crystal Caves Museum in Queensland, Australia
Different shapes of rough Amethyst gemstones
Amethyst's Special Properties
Amethyst, being a member of the Quartz family, is a sister stone to Citrine (yellow Quartz) and rock crystal Quartz (colorless), just to name a few. Because Amethyst rates 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it makes it a suitable stone for frequent use and wear.
Amethyst crystals can be huge, weighing more than 100 pounds, and most often form in hollow geodes big enough to stand in. The most famous of these is the largest ever found, called “The Empress of Uruguay” that stands 10.7 feet tall and weighs over 5,500 pounds!
Heat treatment is the most common technique for improving the color and marketability of natural amethyst. Heat treatment can’t make pale amethyst darker, but it can lighten the color of very dark amethyst and make it more attractive. It can also remove unwanted brownish inclusions in some amethysts. Some amethysts turn yellow (to citrine) with heat treatment.
How valuable is Amethyst?
The most prized amethyst stones feature a deeply saturated or “intense” purple color, perhaps with hints of violet or red hues. Stones with brown or bronze tinges usually have lower values. Amethyst may have light or dark tones. Most gem buyers favor darker tones.
Look for a February birthstone that has its color distributed evenly throughout the stone, without noticeably paler or darker regions or striped patterns.
Deep purple amethysts are valued the highest, and stones with this coveted hue as well as red and blue flashes are known as “Siberian Amethysts”. These gems are typically considered the most valuable of their kind. Originally, the term referred to gems of this quality from Siberia, a source now depleted. Today, the term applies to any amethyst that shows this color, regardless of the source.
Large Amethyst gemstones on display in the Field Museum of Natural History, Chicago
Purple Nebula evocative of the spiritual properties of the february birthstone
February Birthstone Meaning, Symbolism & Metaphisical properties
The ancient greeks, beside helping them to sober up, they also believed that this february birthstone could keep the wearer clear headed and quick witted in battle and business affairs.
Renaissance Europeans thought it calmed lovers overrun by passion. And artist Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethysts enhance intelligence and protect against evil thoughts. The amethyst is also known as the stone of St. Valentine, the patron of love. It is said that St Valentine wore a purple amethyst ring with an engraved cupid so that Roman soldiers could recognise him, and ask for his marriage services.
Buddhists believed that amethyst enhances meditation, and the gem is often used for Tibetan prayer beads. Various cultures have associated amethyst with peace, balance and courage, and ascribed to it the ability to cure insomnia and relieve pain.
Because the February birthstone’s color is purple Quartz, it is known to be a spiritual stone and the master healer of gemstones.
Amethyst works beautifully alongside other gemstones for spiritual purposes. Amethyst enhances feelings of confidence and well-being and decreases feelings of being unbalanced in the mind, body, and soul. Its calming presence helps reduce feelings of depression, anxiety, and stress, allowing you to once again reclaim your inner confidence and excitement for life.
This february birthstone has the ability to open up the crown chakra and because it has the same colour coresponding with the third eye chakra it helps to tap into your intuition. Purple is the colour with the heighest energy vibration, that’s why the Amethyst has the capacity to fine-tune your intuition and clear the mind, helping you in meditative practices.
This February birthstone manifests peace and serenity to whoever wears it, because it guides the mind away from the clichéic patterns of egocentric thought to a more deeper understanding of things. This way, the amethyst shows the mind how to be humble and honest.
The amethyst equaly balances the energies throughout the physical, emotional and intelectual bodies, and can clear out any blockages that you may have subconsciously held deep within the recesses of your mind and negative thought behavior.
Buying & Gifting February Birthstone Jewellery
Do you love amethyst jewellery? Whether or not you have a February birthstone, make sure to browse our most sought after amethyst jewellery to find your favorite, either to include it in your personal collection or to show your love to a february born with a royal gift.