Traditionally, the beautiful purple stone amethyst has been used as the February birthstone in North America, but most people really don't know much about it. So I'm going to give you a bit of history on this beautiful stone.
Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz & part of the hexagonal crystal system. Amethyst is a semiprecious stone with a vitreous or glassy luster which comes in shades of violet and purple.
Amethyst is found in many locations around the world. Between 2000 and 2022, the greatest production was from Marabá and Pau d'Arco, Pará, and the Paraná Basin, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil; Sandoval, Santa Cruz, Bolivia; Artigas, Uruguay; Kalomo, Zambia; and Thunder Bay, Ontario. Lesser amounts are found in many other locations in Africa, Brazil, Spain, Argentina, Russia, Afghanistan, South Korea, Mexico, and the United States. The color and clarity varies from one place to another.
Amethyst jewelry has been found and dated as early as 2000 BC. Throughout history, amethyst has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures.
Ancient Egyptians used the stone as the representative of the zodiac sign of the goat. The goat was considered the enemy of vines and vineyards, and therefore the antidote of wine.
In Greek mythology, amethyst was rock crystal dyed purple by the tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. Ancient Greeks and Romans believed this gemstone could ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus and keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted.
Some historical accounts say that Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. For those familiar with Old Testament history, amethyst was one of the twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel.
For many years, amethyst was held to be one of the most precious gemstones, often favored by royalty or exclusively by the clergy as a symbol for the deity of Christ. English regalia were decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty. It was even held for many years in the same regard as the diamond. It wasn’t until the discovery of more abundant supplies of amethyst that it became a gemstone enjoyed by more than just the wealthiest buyers.
Many wearers of amethyst throughout history and even today prize the gem for its symbolism as well as its beauty. Leonard da Vinci once said that amethyst helps to quicken intelligence and get rid of evil thoughts.