Posted on Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 at 10:52 am by Ad
For those born in the month of February, you’ve been graced with amethyst as your birthstone. Amethyst falls in the quartz category and is easily distinguished by its light plum to deep purple hues. Prior to the 19th century, these violet gemstones were more commonly found on the hands and chests of royalty due to their rareness. Since then, large deposits of amethyst have been found, making them more affordable and widely available.
Unlike most gemstones, amethyst is valued by its color, not the carat. The deeper the shade, the higher the price. Amethyst is broken up into six categories that range in richness of tone and color.
- Purple: Purple is the most valuable of the amethyst family and accounts for only 10% of natural amethysts in circulation. Their signature is a deep purple tone, hence the name, and are typically found at fine jewelry stores.
- Ametrine: Sourced from only one mining site in Bolivia, ametrine is a bi-color quartz and is considered part of the amethyst family, even though they are entirely different gems. Ametrine is actually a naturally occurring combination of two gemstones, amethyst and citrine, which gave ametrine its name. Citrine has a gold to yellowish tone. When coupled with the purple hues of amethyst, ametrine offers a spectacular contrast of color.
- Pink: Though beautiful to look at, pink amethyst holds the least value due to the absence of deep purple coloring. Crystal collectors gravitate towards pink amethyst for its supposed connection to the heart, third eye and crown chakras. Stimulating these chakras is said to bring love and offer guidance to those that wield its healing powers. These gems are found in parts of Argentina and range from a muted lilac or deeper pink to peachy tone.
- Mossy: Named after the mossy veins that are visible throughout the stone, mossy amethyst is mined in Brazil, Africa and South Africa. This gem boasts reddish tones and can have either light or dark veins coursing through it.
- Cape: Cape amethyst has traces of milky white threads weaved in it and is another example of two gemstones coming together to create a visually stunning stone. Cape amethyst is mined in Brazil, Africa, South Africa, Uruguay, and the United States in Arizona.
- Prasiolite: Hailing from the quartz family, prasiolite, also referred to as green amethyst, has a yellow-green appearance with only slight hints of purple throughout. Once found in Brazil, Poland and Thunder Bay in Canada, prasiolite has been all but mined out of existence. One mine still exists in Brazil, but finding naturally occurring prasiolite is becoming difficult.
Amethyst History & Mythology
Derived from the Greek term ‘amethustos’, meaning “sober,” amethyst was once believed to clear the mind of the person wearing it. Greek myth also associated the stone with Dionysus, the God of wine and revelry, which could have prompted the notion that wearing amethyst would cure drunkenness.
Greeks weren’t the only civilization that created intoxicating myths surrounding amethyst. Ancient Egyptians used the stone to signify the zodiac sign of the goat, which was also said to be the enemy of vines, again linking amethyst to an antidote for wine.
Amethyst even has ties to the Catholic Church. Throughout the Middle Ages, amethyst was a symbol of celibacy and piety. It is said to be one of the stones to embellish the breastplate of Aaron the high priest, Exodus 39.
While the benefits and myths tend to morph over time, amethyst continued to remain in the hearts and minds of higher-order and royalty. The deep purple gemstone graced the British Crown Jewels and stood for humility and modesty during the Renaissance period. Said to be a personal favorite of Queen Catherine the Great of Russia, amethyst was a central stone of many headdresses, crowns and amulets.
As you can see, it is undeniable that amethyst has played a central role in many cultures and time periods. To this day amethyst is viewed by many psychics and spiritual practitioners as a stone of peace and clarity, and can provide safe passage to other metaphysical dimensions.
Amethyst Care & Cleaning
Ringing in at 7 on the Mohs scale for hardness, amethyst is a relatively strong stone and can hold up under daily wear and tear. Over time it may need to be professionally polished to preserve its luster, but for the most past, amethyst is a sturdy gemstone. While this February birthstone isn’t as tough as rubies or sapphires, not to mention diamonds, amethyst is still an excellent choice for rings, necklaces, and earrings.
If you aren’t ready to take your amethyst to a jeweler for a professional repolishing, you can care for it at home as well. This can be accomplished with an ultrasonic jewelry cleaner, or a soft brush dipped in mild dish soap. However, stay away from steam cleaning as it is not recommended for amethyst pieces.
There is one less commonly known foe of amethyst and that is prolonged and direct exposure to sunlight. Excessive heat can wind up fading the color of your amethyst. If you plan on wearing it on a daily basis, remember to remove it before going outside all day. Places like the beach or going sunbathing probably aren’t the best match for your amethyst jewelry.
When shopping for amethyst for your sixth wedding anniversary or to gift to a loved one that has a birthday in February, you may come across some lab-created amethyst stones. Lab-grown gemstones are becoming more common these days. The chemical and physical properties are entirely the same as a naturally occurring amethyst stone, making it astonishingly identical to the real thing.
Remember that jewelers and merchants are obligated to tell you whether or not your amethyst is natural or synthetic. Price and sustainability are just two of the many benefits of buying a lab-grown gemstone. Be sure to carefully consider every option to get the best price on a quality amethyst gemstone. Take great care of your amethyst, as it is a treasured keepsake and will hold its value throughout the decades.