Those born in February are lucky to call amethysts their birthstone. The gem’s beautiful purple color is a welcome reminder that spring is on its way during the final days of winter. Amethyst is a special variety of quartz that is often found in geodes around cooled lava. This gorgeous crystal has been revered for millenia, as jewelry and gemstone lovers can admire it in any form. Learn all about the unique history of amethyst, the February birthstone, below!
THE HISTORY AND SYMBOLISM OF AMETHYST
With roots that trace back as far as 2000 BC, amethyst is one of the oldest gemstones on the planet. Although we now link amethysts with tranquility, its origins are quite amusing. The name amethyst derives from the Greek word amethystos, which means ‘not intoxicated’. Ancient Greeks associated amethysts with wine, and its god Bacchus, due to the gem’s purple hue. They believed amethysts could serve as protective talismans against Bacchus when he tried to intoxicate people, making them a pretty remedy against drunkenness. Amethysts were also said to keep wearers clear-headed during battle and quick-witted during business affairs.
Early Christians also had specific associations for amethysts due to its color, but theirs were more solemn. They believed that amethysts were a symbol of the wounds and suffering of Jesus Christ, and used the gems as aids in healing wounds.
By the Middle Ages, amethyst was a rare gemstone that was specifically reserved for royalty. Back then, the color purple was tied to royalty. European kings and queens would often use amethysts to decorate their royal jewels and regalia. Catherine the Great was particularly fond of amethyst, and included it in most of her ensembles. This was likely due to the fact that Russia was the main source of amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits of the gem were found in Brazil. Before then, amethysts were as precious and expensive as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires.
Nowadays amethysts represent strength, empowerment, and inner strength. Some of its original symbolism, such as clarity and wit, have remained over the centuries. Many wearers consider amethyst’s soft shade of purple to be calming, and use the gem to promote serenity, positive thoughts, and peaceful dreams.
Amethysts are rated a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs scale. This means that they’re hard enough for everyday wear, but they do need regular polishing and treatment to maintain their beauty.
You can use an ultrasonic cleaner on amethysts, but avoid steam and heat as too much exposure to either can cause the gem to lose its stunning color. To avoid any damage, we recommend cleaning amethyst jewelry with mild soap, lukewarm water, and a soft brush.
FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE JEWELRY
Even if you don’t have any February babies in your life, there are still plenty of reasons to treat yourself or your loved ones to amethyst jewelry! It’s also the traditional choice for a 6th wedding anniversary gift, or it can make an excellent Valentine’s Day gift. After all, Renaissance Europeans linked amethysts to passion. Whatever the circumstances may be, there’s always room for some amethyst jewelry in your collection.
These minimalist hoop earrings with drop amethysts are the ideal solution for everyday elegance. Subtle and stylish, these earrings will look amazing for any occasion.
A simple amethyst surrounded by a delicate gold chain is a match made in heaven. This dainty bracelet is perfect for wearing on its own, or layered with other bracelets. It’s a wonderful way to add a subtle pop of color to your everyday outfits.
Those who truly love purple will appreciate this all-over amethyst necklace. With a round-cut amethyst pendant and a matching purple thread, this necklace is made for anyone who isn’t afraid to be bold with color. It can be worn on its own or layered with other necklaces.
Rings are one of the most symbolic types of jewelry, so it’s only fitting to use a birthstone to adorn one. This chic chain detail ring is embellished by a striking round amethyst, the perfect choice for a meaningful gift.