February’s birthstone, amethyst, comes in lilac to deep purple hues and can be cut into many shapes and sizes. Found in the collections of royal families throughout Europe and Asia, amethyst is also within reach of most modern consumers.
Drunk in love
“Amethyst’s name is derived from the Ancient Greek a- (not) and methustos, meaning intoxicated. Ancient wearers believed the gemstone could protect them from drunkenness.
Apparently, the Greeks even made drinking vessels from amethyst in the belief it would stop them getting drunk!
Valentine’s Day gives February associations with love and romance, but did you know its patron saint may also have been a fan of the month’s birthstone? According to some historical accounts, St Valentine was said to have owned an amethyst ring, carved with an image of Cupid, of course.
Amethyst is also used to celebrate sixth and 17th wedding anniversaries.
St Valentine wasn’t the only fan of amethyst: Cleopatra wore an engraved amethyst ring. English kings and queens have used it in their royal finery since the Middle Ages.
Nowadays the gemstone is popular with pop royalty Katy Perry and Robin Thicke.
As with all gemstones, amethyst is thought to bring its wearer a number of benefits, including clear-headedness, strength, peace and stability.
Medieval soldiers wore amethyst amulets to keep them safe in battles, and Leonardo da Vinci believed the stone could fend off evil thoughts and encourage intelligence.
If your birthday is in February, wearing an amethyst can a be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength.
From scarcity to abundance!
Once as rare as ruby or emerald, amethyst is now found in every corner of the world, and can be manufactured in a lab as well as mined. Today, the most important sources of amethyst are in Africa and South America.
For a while, amethyst commanded similar prices to diamonds. However, because it is now widely available and relatively affordable, it’s a great option for any piece of jewellery – it is both a hard and durable material.
Amethyst makes the perfect match for white gold setting, with its striking purple hues looking particularly lovely against the shiny, silvery background.
Caring for amethyst
Although durable, amethyst must be properly cared for to maintain its lustre.
Keep amethyst away from severe temperature changes, which could cause the stone to crack. Additionally, you should store the stone away from direct sunlight, as too much exposure may result in some loss of its beautiful colour.