The February birthstone, amethyst, has many popular symbolic and folkloric associations, from love and spirituality to supernatural protection. Those with February birthdays are sure to be familiar with the purple hues of their birthstone, amethyst. The prized gem is actually a violet variety of quartz, and was once categorized as a precious stone, such as rubies and emeralds, for its rarity. Fortunately, more deposits have been discovered, making the gem more available at all price points.
Worn by kings and the clergy throughout history, amethyst was once more valuable than a diamond. Their vibrant color has represented the privilege of royalty since the stone age. People do not generally think of the royal stone as a prominent gem in ancient Egypt due to the blue colors of lapis and turquoise prevalent in Egyptian artifacts. However, there are examples of the royal stone in Egypt dating as far back to 4000 CE. Ancient Egyptians wore amethyst to protect against guilty and fearful feelings, as well as witchcraft.
The name of this gem dates back to ancient Greece, where the violet-purple crystal received its name derived from the Greek word “amethystos,” or "sober". They believed you could drink all night and remain sober if you had an amethyst in your mouth or on your person. Some even went as far as to carve drinking glasses made of amethyst.
The gem Amethyst has long been synonymous with spirituality. It is considered one of the most powerful and protective stones, and has often been associated with clarity, deep contemplation, and a sense of control over life. Amethyst was often used in ancient China, and became a powerful tool in the art of Feng Shui. It was used by masters of the art to clear negative energy and drive away the hazards of life.
From the frozen corners of Siberia to the steamy rainforests of Brazil, amethyst can be found across the globe. Until the 19th century, amethyst was primarily mined in Russia. However, the supply dramatically increased when natural sources of the crystals were discovered in Brazil. Even today, Brazil remains a major supplier, with a large portion of the stones coming from the southern state of Rio Grande du Sol.
Amethyst is a tough, solid crystal with Mohs hardness of 7. Its hardness is not proof of its durability. Scratches are possible if it comes in contact with an object of the same hardness. Sudden changes in temperature could also break Amethyst in time.
Amethyst is best cleaned with mild soap or detergent and water. Use a soft-bristled cleaning brush. Clean it lightly without any pressure, use circular motions gently. The gemstone should also be well kept in a dark storage room or jewelry box. Do not store in a place where there is direct sunlight or too much light. The purple color of Amethyst stone will result in color loss upon prolonged exposure.
If you have a loved one with a birthday this month, check out our collection of amethyst jewelry online or at either of our locations in Kansas City and Overland Park! You can also visit the David Yurman section of our website for more great Amethyst finds!