For a select few people fortunate to be born in the month of February, the amethyst is their go-to gem. This fascinating February birthstone is vibrant, stunning, and full of meaning. Even those born in other months won't be able to resist the lure of the glittering purple jewel.
February Birthstone: Amethyst
A member of the quartz family, amethyst gemstones range in color from the palest lilac to the deepest purple. Amethysts with intense, vibrant, rich purple colors have long been considered the most precious of these natural crystals and the preferred color choice of jewelry buyers for decades. The popularity, however, of very light lavender amethyst gemstones, known as the Rose of France, is growing rapidly.
Although classified as a semi-precious gemstone today, from the time of the ancient Mesopotamian civilization through the Middle Ages, amethysts held the classification of precious gems. Worn by Egyptian Pharaohs, reigning kings and queens, and Cardinals of the church, these stunning gemstones shared the title of one of the five Cardinal Gems along with diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.
Healing Properties of Amethyst
Derived from the Greek word amethysotos, which means sober, the people of medieval times believed in the protective powers of amethyst. They believed it protected them from the effects of drunkenness, stopped them from being poisoned, and helped hunters in capturing their prey. They also believed it aided soldiers in battle, keeping them safe as they achieved victory.
The Chinese, in contrast, associated amethyst with money and wealth. According to Feng Shui, this stone held the ability to attract riches.
There are many people today that believe amethysts hold special qualities that aid in mental, spiritual, and physical healing. These qualities include, but are not limited to:
- Soothing the mind bringing calm and serenity
- Assisting in meditation
- Alleviating anxiety
- Reducing negativity
- Enhancing feelings of stability and mental strength
- Removing body toxins
- Improving effects of arthritis
- Improving overall health
A Stone With a Story
The story of the stone is almost as spectacular as the beautiful gem itself. According to ancient legend, the wine God Bacchus was fit to be tied over a particular insult hurled in his direction. So mad was he that he decided the very next person he came into contact with would meet their demise courtesy of his ferocious tigers. As it was, a maiden by the name of Amethyst was the first person to cross the angry God's path. Just as the tigers pounced, Amethyst called upon the Goddess of Diana, whose shrine she was headed for, for protection from harm.
In order to save the maiden's life, she was instantly turned into a clear white crystal. Bacchus felt terrible at his temper and cruelty. The God of Wine poured the juice of his grapes over the white crystal, giving it the purple hue that people have come to love.
Determining the Stone's Overall Value
As is the case with many stones, an amethyst's value is determined by several factors, including color, clarity, carat, and cut.
The color of amethyst ranges from deep violet to a light shade of lilac. Generally speaking, the dark-hued stones tend to be the most valuable ones, so long as they are not so dark that they appear to be nearly black. Another factor used to determine value is the continuity of the color. A gem with a consistent color throughout will often be more valuable than one with light and dark areas in a single stone. The clearer the stone, the more precious it is. An amethyst used in jewelry will be appear clean to the eye and appear to have no inclusions or flaws. Many times, the bigger the gem, the more expensive it will be, and a stone of several carats will probably fetch higher prices. With the amethyst, however, there is little carat value difference. Cuts refer to the shape in which a stone is fashioned. Round stones are slightly more expensive compared to other stones.
Several parts of the world are responsible for producing this most stunning gem. The state of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil produces much of the stone thanks to the large quantity of igneous rocks found in the area. Uruguay, Siberia, and Canada also contribute to the mining of the pretty purple stone. In fact, Ontario, Canada claims amethyst as its official province stone.
A Beautiful Stone Loaded With Meaning
The February birthstone and the stone of the Aquarius is beloved by so many people for so many reasons. For some, it signifies the month in which they were born. For others, the purple magnificence and regality is too lovely to pass up aesthetically. Others are still inspired by the deep lore of the gem and the many beliefs of healing powers associated with the amethyst. Regardless as to why one covets the amethyst, it is, without a shadow of a doubt, one of the most majestic, sophisticated, and meaningful stones in the world.