Let's Celebrate the February Birthstone: Amethyst
The second in our series of posts featuring monthly birthstones.
February's birthstone is Amethyst. Amethysts are available in colors ranging from a light lilac to a deep, rich jewel tone. They traditionally symbolize wisdom, understanding, creativity and love. Amethysts were originally a Russian import, but they are also mined in South America and Africa.
Romans associated amethyst with Bacchus, god of wine.
The lore of amethyst began with the Greek Gods who believed that drinking from goblets studded with amethyst gems would prevent drunkenness and excess. Its name is derived from the Greek word amethystos, meaning “not intoxicated.”
St. Valentine was rumored to wear a carved Cupid amethyst ring. To this day, most bishops wear a ring with an amethyst set in it to symbolize the union of the bishop and the diocese.
Amethyst was as expensive and as cherished as Ruby and Emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered.
Amethyst has a place in England’s Crown Jewels, atop the Sovereign’s Sceptre with Cross.
Medieval soldiers wore the gemstone into battle to protect them and aid them in staying focused.
A nine-foot cavern in Maine was discovered in 1993 that contained more than a ton of amethyst crystal.
Amethysts are used to celebrate both the 6th and 17th years of marriage.
It has been said that Cleopatra’s signet ring was an amethyst engraved with the Persian deity, Mithras.
In the last century, amethysts enjoyed the limelight yet again when famed jewelry connoisseur Wallis, Duchess of Windsor, wore a gorgeous Cartier designed amethyst and turquoise necklace to a Versailles gala in 1953.
A colorful alternative February birthstone is fluorite. Found in all the colors of the rainbow, fluorite is thought to bring balance.