Updated: Apr 25
The majority of people are aware of their astrological sign, but fewer are aware of their "birthstone." The birthstone for February is the Amethyst stone. Lets explore more facts about amethyst, including the history, meaning, and properties.
Amethyst, a violet variety of quartz, is the birthstone for February, and it is known for its calming and healing properties. This beautiful purple stone is also said to promote courage, strength, and inner peace.
Amethyst is the official gemstone for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Name and Myths
The name Amethyst comes from the Greek amethystos, a refers to ‘not’ and methysko means "intoxicate", a reference to the belief that amethysts protected from drunkenness.
Ancient Greeks wore amethyst and carved drinking vessels from it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. One reason to use an amethyst drinking vessel was to enable the party goer to fill it with water rather than wine with no one noticing due to the purple colour of the vessel!
Greek mythology contains a story about the god of intoxication Dionysus and a young, attractive woman Amethystos who spurned his approaches. Amethystos was en route to worship the goddess Diana when Dionysus unleashed a pack of vicious tigers. Diana protected her from the approaching tigers by transforming her into a statue of flawless crystalline quartz before they got to her. Dionysus shed wine-colored tears as he was horrified by what he had almost done to Amethystos and humbled by her resolve. According to legend, his tears caused the colourless Quartz to become purple, resulting in Amethyst.
Amethyst has been popular since ancient times and was being used in jewellery as far back as 4000BC, with intricate Gold rings set with amethyst found dated 2400BC.
Since the Medieval Ages, Amethyst has been set into rings and worn by important figures in the Catholic Church because of its associations with piety and chastity. The stone has also been valued by monarchs over the years, and amethyst can be found in the British Crown Jewels.
Amethyst is also associated with St Valentine, who wore an Amethyst ring carved with Cupid. Amethyst thus became the birthstone for the month of February.
In crystal healing amethyst is used to promote mental calmness and a deeper state of meditation. It is said to improve cognitive perception and to speed up the development of psychic and intuitive abilities. Creativity and passion are enhanced by amethyst's capacity to expand the higher mind. It develops intuition and the imagination while sharpening thought processes. Amethyst is seen as a stone promoting success and concentration .
Amethyst is a hard and durable gemstone measuring 7 on the Mohs scale. It is good for cutting since it frequently forms lengthy prismatic crystals when it is in its raw state. Amethyst displays best when cut as a cabochon because it has a trigonal crystal arrangement, with the colour occasionally appearing in bands.
Amethyst comes in a variety of shades from light purple/pink ‘Rose-de-France Amethyst’ to deep purple ‘Siberian Amethyst’ and 'Brazilian Amethyst', where the majority is mined today. Green amethyst is sometimes known as green quartz, and citrine is also is this family of gemstones.
Our Top Picks of Jewellery made with Amethyst
The Bottom Line
Whether it be a gift for a loved one or yourself, or for a 6th or 17th Wedding anniversary, amethyst is a great choice with its range of colours and price ranges, rich history and calming properties.
Interested in the Birthstones for other months? Take a look at our guide here: Your Guide to Birthstones (sennenjewellery.com)