Amethyst: February Birthstone

The name “amethyst” comes from the Greek meaning “not drunken,” and Amethyst has long been considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness. Wine goblets were often carved from it, and the gemstone still symbolizes sobriety to this day.

The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from the Greeks. Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal he encountered. After, creating tigers to carry out his wish, unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana appeared. But Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from Dionysus’ tigers. At the sight of the beautiful statue, Dionysus is said to have wept tears of wine, staining the quartz purple and creating the gem amethyst.

The color purple is traditionally the color of royalty and amethyst has been used since the dawn of history to adorn the rich and powerful monarchs and rulers. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.

Amethyst is mentioned in the Bible as one of the 12 stones adorning the breastplate of the high priests of Yahweh. Because amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, it was an important the ornament of Catholic and other churches of the Middle Ages. It was, considered to be the stone of bishops, who still often wear amethyst rings. In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.

Were not for its widespread availability, amethyst would be very expensive. Different localities produce unique varieties of amethyst, and experts can often identify the source mine of a particular amethyst ‘s origin. Amethyst may be found throughout the world, with notable western hemisphere occurrences in Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, Ontario, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Guerrero, Mexico, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.

Citrine is a yellow-to-orange quartz gemstone variety that is rare in nature but is often created by heating Amethyst. Most commercial citrine is made in this manner.

(images from here)

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