A much-coveted member of the quartz family, amethyst is the birthstone for February, and an excellent gemstone used in jewelry-making. Amethyst is available in a wide range of purple shades including pinkish purple, lilac, violet, and royal purple, and lacks eye-visible inclusions. Interestingly, amethyst boasts stunning color zoning, as it usually consists of angular zones of darker to lighter color, lending the gemstone fabulous dimension. The name "amethyst" comes from the Greek "amethystos," which means "not drunken" or "not intoxicated," hinting to the old belief that the February birthstone can ward off drunkenness.
The best specimens of amethyst can be found in Sri Lanka, Brazil, Siberia, and far East.
The gemstone has historical ties to medicine, as ancient Greeks believed it to ward off the intoxicating power of Bacchus (alcohol) and keep the wearer clear-minded. For centuries, amethyst has been frequently mentioned in legends, myths, and numerous religions, and it bestows sobriety, spirituality, wisdom, and security. In some cultures, the February birthstone symbolizes protection and is thought to encourage self-control and strengthen the bond in a romantic relationship. Its healing powers aid in meditation, stabilize harsh emotions, and bring mental, physical, and emotional well-being. According to popular beliefs, amethyst can bring pleasant dreams if put under the pillow, and effectively relieve headaches when rubbed across one’s forehead. Some say this birthstone can keep air and life force in the home clean and positive. When placed in a window that receives sun most of the day, amethyst can heal negativity in the home.
The name "amethyst" derives from the ancient Greek word "amethustos," which means "sober" and "not drunken." In Greek mythology, the February birthstone was white rock crystal (quartz) dyed purple by the tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry. Legend says that, after he became intoxicated with red wine, young virgin Amethyst became the object of Dionysus’ wrath. Amethyst cried out to Goddess Diana for help, who turned her into a shimmering quartz. When Dionysus realized what had happened, he felt remorse and his tears dropped into his goblet of red wine, which was accidentally overturned. The red wine was spilled all over the quartz stone and saturated it until it became the gemstone that is today known as amethyst.