If you enjoy a birthday during the month of February, then you are privileged with the amethyst birthstone. The amethyst, a variety of quartz, can help you keep a balanced mindset and makes a beautiful focal point for any type of birthstone jewelry including rings, necklaces, bracelets, stud earrings, and even simple pendants.
Full of history and legend, the amethyst has long resided in the hearts of many cultures, religions and royalty. Its name is derived from the Greek word for intoxicated, “methustos,” as it was believed to help protect against drunkenness.
Jewelry adorned with the February birthstone dates as far back as 2000 B.C. Ancient Romans and Greeks believed amethysts contained healthy powers, helped ward off evil powers and kept wearers clear-minded and sharp. It’s said that Saint Valentine wore an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. Even Leonardo da Vinci is believed to have regarded the gemstone as an aid to quicken intelligence and dispel evil thoughts.
Amethyst has also been attributed to bringing peace, strength and stability. Regardless of its intrinsic qualities, the amethyst boasts incredible beauty and offers a special purple warmth to all those with February birthdays.
As a member of the quartz family, amethyst comes in the purple variety. Because quartz is one of the most abundant materials found in the Earth’s crust, the mineral is widely available in a spectrum of colors. The purple amethyst stone, however, ranges in hue from pinkish lilac to a deep violet. Some amethysts even contain hints of red. The gemstone’s shade largely depends on its small impurities, like traces of iron or manganese.
Measuring a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, amethyst is a relatively durable gem. It can be worn in everyday jewelry, especially earrings and pendants.
While the exact date of discovery is unknown, records indicate amethyst traces as far back as 25,000 years in France. Prehistoric humans are believed to have used amethyst as decoration, as pieces of the stone are connected with remains of Neolithic man.
Because quartz is an abundant mineral, amethyst deposits are found worldwide, in countries like Zambia, Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Canada and the United States. Brazil remains the largest supplier of amethyst.
Amethyst is popular because of its beautifully vibrant purple coloring, and it makes a stunning addition to any outfit when worn as jewelry. Since amethyst is a type of quartz, it is made up of silicon dioxide, and the purple color is due to the stone’s impurities within its structure.
When purchasing amethyst jewelry, you will want to examine the color of the amethyst and pay close attention to the different color variations. While purple is the primary color, you may also notice hints of red and blue which are actually considered the amethyst’s secondary colors.
The deeper colored amethyst stones will usually have a much higher price tag than the lighter colored gemstones. When looking at any kind of gemstone, it is always recommended that you view it in natural light to get a more accurate depiction of what the gemstone’s hue really is.
Next, you will consider the clarity of the amethyst. Look for any imperfections or other defects that may be present on the stone’s surface as well as inside the stone. You will want to make sure there is a minimal amount of these imperfections.
The cut of amethyst is done to enhance the color and beauty of the gemstone, unlike a diamond that is cut to maximize its brilliance. When looking at the cut of the amethyst, pay attention to the color intensity of the gemstone.
Since amethyst rates at a 7 on the hardness scale, this tells us it is a durable option for birthstone jewelry and the jewelry can be worn on a regular basis without fear of easily becoming damaged.
However, you will still want to follow proper precautions to ensure that no damage falls upon your jewelry whether the amethyst is set in necklaces, stud earrings, or a single pendant.
As with most gemstones, simply cleaning the amethyst with warm soapy water and wiping it with a soft cloth is all you have to do keep it clean. Never steam clean or subject the amethyst jewelry to any kind of heat because doing so can seriously damage the stone and deteriorate its value.
Amethyst makes a great choice for engagement rings as well because of its durability and beauty and is a welcome alternative to the traditional diamond set engagement ring. The amethyst offers a stunning focal point that is in its own way just as classic as a diamond.
Instead of putting the diamond as the center stone in the engagement ring, consider the amethyst as the focal point and the diamonds as the accent stones to adorn the band. It is an especially thoughtful idea for those with amethyst as their February birthstone.
For the setting, a halo or vintage setting in white gold will really allow the amethyst to stand out and a cushion-cut, oval-cut, or heart-shaped cut will also do the amethyst justice and will make a brilliant impact on the engagement ring as a whole.
Finally, an amethyst engagement ring is a more affordable option to a traditional diamond engagement ring, and it will not disappoint.
Distinct in color and beauty, amethysts make for particularly stunning jewelry—and tend to be quite affordable. Select a design that matches the style of your loved one, especially if they are February-born.
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