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February Birthstone: Amethyst

The birthstone for the month of February is amethyst. Known for its purple color, this gemstone is commonly found in the collection of royal families throughout Europe and Asia.

Amethyst

Over time, amethyst has been associated with countless myths, legends, religions, and cultures. Leonardo da Vinci was thought to have said that amethyst helps enhance intelligence and gets rid of evil thoughts. Some historians also believe Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of cupid. During the Middle Ages, English regalia was decorated with amethysts to symbolize royalty. Amethyst has intrigued kings and queens for centuries. Catherine the Great, the empress of Russia from 1729-1796, adorned herself in amethyst necklaces and earrings.

For a long time, amethyst was thought to be one of the most precious gemstones, commonly favored by royalty. Back then it was even held in the same regard as diamond. It wasn’t until the discovery of abundant amethyst sources that it became an easier accessible gemstone for non-royals.

 

The name amethyst comes from Ancient Greek, derived from the word “methustos”, which means “intoxicated”. Ancient wearers thought wearing amethyst could fend off drunkenness. Due to this February birthstone’s wine-like color, early Greek mythology associated this gemstone with Bacchus, the god of wine.

This February birthstone is often found in geodes or in the cavities of granitic rocks. This gemstone can be found in many places, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Zambia. However, today the most abundant and important sources are in Africa and South America. Zambia’s Kariba mine is one of the largest sources of amethyst in the world.