Unique Birthstone Jewelry
Amethyst is the modern February birthstone and the accepted
gem for the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. See other
birth stones: Traditional,
Sun Signs (Star Signs), Talismanic
This member of the quartz family gets its name from amethysts,
the Greek word for sober.
According to legend, amethyst originated when Bacchus, the
God of Wine, grew angry at mortals. He vowed the next mortal
that crossed his path would be eaten by tigers. At that time,
a beautiful young maiden named Amethyst was on her way to
worship the Goddess Diana. Diana, knowing of Bacchus vow,
turned Amethyst into a pillar of colorless quartz to protect
her from the tigers. Bacchus, witnessing the miracle, repented
and poured wine over Amethyst, staining her purple.
Folklore, Legend, and Healing Properties:
This legend and the connection to Bacchus led to the belief
that drinking wine from a cup made of amethyst would prevent
drunkenness, and later, that wearing amethyst would also prevent
the wearer from becoming drunk or being poisoned. Amethyst
is also considered as an aid to the brave because it was believed
to protect soldiers in battle.
Other legends say that amethyst can control evil thoughts,
help hunters in the capture of animals and can make the owner
shrewd in business matters.
Amethyst is a variety of quartz which occurs in transparent
light to dark purple. The darker more intense colors are more
valuable than the lighter smoky or lavender color. Dark rich,
royal colors of amethyst have been treasured by kings and
queens for centuries and can be traced back to the Minoan
period in Greece (c. 2500 B.C.). During the 15th century the
French fleur-de-lis brooch could only be worn by the Royal
family on ceremonial occasions.
The two main sources of amethyst are Brazil and Zambia although
it is also found in Uruguay, Russia, Sri Lanka, Mexico, and
the US state of Arizona.
Amethyst is used as faceted stones or polished cabochons
and is carved in various shapes. Amethyst beads are used in
necklaces, earrings and other jewelry in both rough unpolished
forms, smooth glossy shapes, faceted beads and briolettes.
One of the largest cut amethysts in the world is 343 carats
and is housed at the National History Museum in London. Very
dark stones are sometimes heated to enhance color.