February babies: your birthstone is amethyst! This regal stone was practically made to be the February birthstone — the patron of romantic love, St. Valentine, wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of cupid. Every month, we like to dive into each birthstone’s history, symbolism, and lore, so that you can better understand and appreciate the gemstone’s unique beauty and meaning. Amethyst is a stunning and popular gemstone, making for stunning jewelry. Let’s look at its history and the famous amethysts throughout the centuries.
What is Amethyst?
Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz mineral species. Its color can range from cool and bluish, to reddish purple. Besides being the birthstone for February, it is also the gem for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. Yes, there’s a gem for every anniversary! Today, amethyst is the most valued of the quartz variety.
The History of Amethyst
The amethyst has a long history, stretching back to Ancient Greece and Rome, where it was believed to have protective and healing powers. During the Middle Ages, the Catholic Church believed the gemstone’s purple hue was a sign of religious piety. Many bishops and other high-ranking clergy members wore the gemstone in jewelry as a sign of devotion. The ruling classes of Europe and Asia prized it highly and used it to make ornate jewelry and other decorative items.
According to Greek mythology, amethyst was created by Bacchus, the Greek god of intoxication, wine, and grapes. He was pursuing a woman, Amethyste, who refused his affections and prayed to the gods to remain chaste. The goddess Diana responded, transforming Amethyste into a white stone. In shame, Bacchus poured a goblet of wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing its crystals purple.
One of the most famous amethysts is the Heron-Allen amethyst, which has a curious and tragic history. The purple gemstone was discovered in the late 19th century and was believed to be cursed due to its association with a series of mysterious deaths and misfortune. The amethyst was eventually sold to a collector, who hid it to avoid further tragedy.
Whether it’s a birthstone or a curiosity, amethyst is a fantastic gemstone that will bring pleasure and delight to anyone wearing it. Dallas Gold & Silver Exchange has a great selection of gemstone jewelry, including amethyst, ready to add to your collection. Visit any of our locations to shop.