FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE - AMETHYST
Famed for its beautiful deep violet colour, amethyst is the birthstone of February. This instantly recognisable gemstone has captivated mankind for millennia. Its lilac to deep purple hues can be cut into many shapes and sizes, and were as highly valued as diamonds and even favoured by royalty.
BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
The name “amethyst” Derived from the Greek amethystos, which means “a remedy against drunkenness,” a benefit long ascribed to amethyst birthstones; whilst in Greek mythology it was often associated with Bacchus due its wine-like colour.
As well as the perfect gift for those born in February, amethyst is also traditionally given for the sixth wedding anniversary.
Whether you wear it in celebration of your nuptials or as your February birthstone and you’ll be in royal company: Catherine the Great (Empress Catherine II of Russia, 1729–1796) had a penchant for the gem and decked herself in amethyst necklaces, earrings and other ornaments.
The story of Amethyst is almost as spectacular as the beautiful gem itself. According to ancient legend, the wine God Bacchus was in a rage over a rebuff from the Goddess Diana. So mad was he that he decided the very next maiden he met would meet their demise courtesy of his ferocious tigers. As it was, a maiden by the name of Amethyst was the first to cross the angry God's path. Just as the tigers pounced, Amethyst called upon the Goddess Diana, as Goddess of the hunt, for protection from harm.
To save the maiden's life, Diana turned her into a clear white crystal. Bacchus felt terrible at his temper and cruelty and as penitence for his behaviour poured his wine over the white crystal, giving it the purple hue that people have come to love.
WHERE ARE AMETHYSTS FOUND?
Russia was the major source of amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits were found in Brazil. Once as rare as ruby or emerald, amethyst was suddenly in abundance.
Uruguay, Siberia, and Canada also contribute to the mining of the pretty purple stone. In fact, Ontario, Canada claims amethyst as its official province stone.
AMETHYST BIRTHSTONE CARE AND CLEANING
Amethysts rate at a 7 on the hardness scale, making it a very durable option for birthstone jewellery. It also means that Amethysts are perfect for wearing on a regular basis without fear of them becoming damaged.
As with most gemstones, simply clean the amethyst with warm soapy water and wipe it with a soft cloth. Allow the jewellery to air dry completely before storing it in a cloth or padded container.
Never steam clean or subject amethyst jewellery to any kind of heat as doing so could seriously damage the gemstone.