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Interesting facts about the Amethyst – February birthstone.

This is one of the most popular stones in beaded jewellery. The fabulous Amethyst belongs to the Quartz family, and it is known primarily for its colour which exists across all shades of purple, from a light pinkish mauve, through violets, to a deep dark red purple gemstone.

The name comes from the Greek a-, meaning “not” and methustos, meaning “to intoxicate”, alluding to the belief that you could not get drunk when imbibing wine from a goblet made from this natural gemstone. Amethyst stone jewellery items have been found dating as far back as 4000 BC, including a ring worn by Cleopatra in Ancient Egypt. Sometimes green quartz is incorrectly called green Amethyst, but this is not appropriate; green quartz is called Prasiolite, while genuine Amethyst stones will always display shades of purple.

 

Amethyst bead necklace

Aurora long necklace - Purple Amethyst necklace

 

Its distinctive colour was originally thought to have been caused by the presence of manganese, however nowadays it is known to be the presence of iron that has undergone radiation damage.  The colour of an Amethyst can be made yellow under heat treatment, which causes it to transform into the rarer gem Citrine. When this occurs naturally, it is possible to find crystals that are a mixture of purple and yellow, and these are known as the beautiful Ametrine – which are currently only commercially sourced from Bolivia.

Due to its deep and stunning colour, Amethyst has been used in decorative items for thousands of years. It was also an extremely valuable gemstone as it was very rare to find. Up until the 19th century, it was at least as valuable as Rubies and Emeralds. Nowadays however, large deposits have been found in Rio Grande do Sul and Minas Gerais, both states in Brazil; and also in Uruguay, reducing its value and making it much more readily available. It is now considered and known as a fabulous semi-precious gemstone.Amethyst bead bracelet

Violeta - Amethyst bracelet

 

Amethyst is the birthstone for February, and this is probably due to an association with St Valentine. The legend of St Valentine states that this religious figure would conduct marriage ceremonies for couples in Ancient Rome, at a time when marriage had been banned by the Emperor.  He supposedly wore a purple Amethyst ring with an image of Cupid engraved on it, making Amethysts a symbol for love, and particularly Valentine’s Day to this day.

Amethyst jewellery continues to be highly valued in religious circles. In the Middle Ages it stood for piety and celibacy, and it was therefore worn by members of the Catholic Church and used to adorn crosses. Nowadays it is commonly seen on Bishop’s rings. This semi-precious stone has also long been a favourite of many Royal Households. Catherine the Great of Russia is said to have sent thousands of workers to dig in Siberian mines to find gems of the best quality.  To this day the finest variety of Amethyst is known as “Deep Russian”. Both the British and Swedish royal families have large collections of this stone in their jewellery collections.Silver Amethyst earrings

Isabela - Silver Amethyst earrings

 

Amethyst properties and meanings include the gem often being referred to as a gem of optimism and good fortune. This gemstone is said to be a ‘protective stone’ that relieves stress, balances mood swings and dissolves negativity. Among his many writings, Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote "Amethyst holds the power to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken one's intelligence”. Amethysts are all about well-balanced energies, which therefore brings the benefits mentioned.

This stone is also considered as an alternative to 6th wedding anniversary gifts. That may be a better option to give your loved one than the traditional Iron.

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