Elaine B Jewelry
- February's Birthstone -
Believe it or not, February actually has two birthstones: jasper and amethyst. While jasper is a beautiful variety of microgranular quartz, it’s definitely not what most people think of when mentioning February’s birthstone. Amethyst, however, has been associated with February with incredible popularity in the last century. Let’s chat about this stunning purple stone!
THE SCIENCE OF AMETHYST
Amethyst crystals are formed inside basalts, a type of volcanic rock. When the minerals in these rocks combine with water over time, they can produce amethyst. Amethysts are often formed in geodes, separating them from many other birthstones. Geodes are a type of crystal that grow within a stone rather than outside. Because of this, it’s difficult for the average person to tell the difference between something containing a geode and a standard rock.
Amethysts can be found in many places across the globe. They are most commonly discovered in Brazil, Uruguay, South Korea, Russia, the United States, and South India. Amethysts aren’t rare by any means, in fact, they’re one of the most easily found gemstones out of all the birthstones. As with any other gemstone, finding ones with vivid color and decent clarity can be difficult. The “perfect” amethyst requires it to form under very specific conditions.
Amethyst is a type of violet quartz that some historians estimate was first discovered as early as 2,000 BC. Others claim that it was found by a Spanish conquistador as recently as the 1600s, though that’s unlikely since there are mentions of it being used by the ancient Greeks and Egyptians. There’s even mentions of it in various religious texts.
While the discovery of amethyst is disputed (most giving credit to either the ancient Greeks or the ancient Egyptians), its popularity ultimately rose in ancient Egypt between 2050 BCE and 1750 BCE. Englishmen began adorning themselves with it around 2000 BC. As with many highly desired gemstones, it quickly became a symbol of royalty. Rumor has it that it was even the favorite stone of Queen Catherine the Great.
BELIEFS ABOUT AMETHYST
There are many beliefs surrounding amethyst. Across culture and history, ideas about the stone have fluctuated. The Ancient Greeks, for example, believed that amethyst was the stone of their God Dionysus. The Greek god of wine-making, festivity, and theater felt fitting for a deep purple stone. They believed amethyst could control alcohol and quell the effects of intoxication when kept as a talisman.
The Ancient Egyptians also held strong beliefs regarding amethyst. They were so strong that even King Tutankhamun wore a bracelet depicting a scarab made of amethyst. Since purple occurs so rarely in nature, Egyptians believed it was an intermediate color between red and blue (which is true) and, therefore, was also an intermediary between worlds. Many thought of the stone as coming from the space between worlds where it could transform bad energies into positive ones, thus protecting the wearer from harm.
MODERN DAY AMETHYST
As with many birthstones, the beliefs surrounding amethyst have changed over time. Representing people born in February, it is believed that modern day amethyst represents a purity of spirit and an affinity for content-ness and acceptance.
Because it is more commonly found, amethyst is a relatively inexpensive stone in comparison to other birthstones, costing between $20-30 per carat. They’re also a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, meaning they’re pretty reliable and long-lasting in terms of durability. Amethyst makes a great birthstone in addition to being fabulous jewelry anyone can enjoy.
Whether you have any beliefs surrounding amethysts or not, there’s no denying the beauty of this gorgeous purple stone.
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