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Birthstone of February: the Amethyst

By Frank

Highly experienced diamond polisher who loves to share his knowledge with you. Continues to stun his colleagues with interesting - or simply bizarre - facts about diamonds and gems.

February 1, 2017

The birthstone of February is the amethyst. The amethyst is a very special stone for many people. This stone is often called royal, because of the beautiful violet hues in the stone. Because of the color and rarity, amethyst is also famous in a spiritual way. According to the lore, it was the favorite stone of St. Valentine and therefore a beautiful stone as a gift for Valentine's Day, the day of St. Valentine. The stone is also associated with the Greek god of wine Dionysus: amethyst would protect you against drunkenness. This would be in line with Carnival, which happens to be in February as well.

Why an amethyst?

Many positive characteristics are attributed to the amethyst. A few of them are beauty, purity and respect. It protects you against the effects of drunkenness, against addiction and it ought to be good for your skin. Amethyst promotes positive thoughts and protects you from malicious interferences. Also, the stone is good against some physical symptoms. People believe it can help against abdominal pain, headache an, insomnia.

The amethyst is in Western astrology associated with the Aquarius sign and in Chinese astrology, with the dragon. Amethyst is the symbolic gift for six-year marriage anniversary.

rough piece of geode amethyst

The amethyst stands for

  • Warding off drunkenness and addiction
  • Protecting from poison
  • Bringing pleasant dreams and help against insomnia
  • Being sincere
  • Spiritual wisdom
  • Overcoming fears and cravings
  • Curing abdominal pains and headaches

Meaning of the name amethyst

The name amethyst is a combination of some Greek words. ‘A’ translates as ‘none’ and ‘methystos’ translated as ‘drunk’. For the Greeks, this was the literal translation. They drank expensive wine from jugs and goblets from amethyst which would ensure them that they would not become drunk. Later, they put an amethyst in a glass. If you were a frequent drinker, an amulet in a necklace was even easier to ward off drunkenness.

amethyst necklace

The myth of the amethyst

One of the most beautiful myths about the amethyst is the one of the Greek god of wine. Bacchus (or Dionysus) tried to seduce the beautiful girl Amethyste. But she would not give in to him, because she wanted to stay pure. Bacchus begged Diana, goddess of hunting and chastity, for help. Diana turned Amethyste in a beautiful white stone. Dionysus, stunned by this determination, threw red wine over the stone as a sacrifice, and by the color changed, which brought the first amethyst stone.

Royal and spiritual stone

The amethyst was for centuries the main stone for royals and senior clergy. The intense purple or violet color was scarce and therefore very popular and expensive, which suited the state of course. Especially in the British Crown Jewels, this purple stone is represented a lot. We know Catharina the Great loved special jewels and gems. The amethyst was one of her favorites. She even sent a large group of soldiers to Siberia on a difficult journey to find this special mineral. The Catholic Church used the stone often in ornaments and rings because of the symbolization of spiritual wisdom.

box with rough amethysts

Magical and therapeutic stone

A common belief is that the amethyst enhances the flexibility of the skin. This is sometimes welcome in old age. The amethyst has a calming effect: it helps relieve anxiety, depression and stress. The birthstone of February also prevents memory loss, headaches, juvenile arthritis and even cures insomnia. Leonardo Da Vinci also emphasized the therapeutic effects of amethyst. He believed the gem blocked evil and negative thoughts and would fill the heart with goodness and love. This lines up again with this stone being the favorite one of St. Valentine as mentioned before.

Finding places of the amethyst

In the late Middle Ages, amethysts were found mainly in Brazil and Uruguay. Later also in North America, Europe, Africa and, Australia.

woman holding piece of rough amethyst between thumb and index finger

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