Amethyst is the birthstone for February. Amethyst is a form of quartz (chemical composition is oxygen and silica) and ranges in color from pale lavender to deep purple. The color is caused by iron content in the quartz. Fine amethyst is a saturated purple to reddish purple, with no or very little inclusions. It is commonly found in geodes. Today most amethyst is mined in either Brazil or Africa.
Amethyst has a rich history and lore. There is evidence prehistoric humans used it as a decorative stone 25,000 years ago in France. Cleopatra’s signet ring was to be of amethyst. In ancient Greece amethyst was to protect the wearer from becoming intoxicated. The word amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos” meaning not drunk. Egyptians placed it in the tombs of the pharaohs since they believed amethyst possessed good powers. In the Middle Ages amethyst had medicinal properties. It was believed to dispel sleep, increase the intellect, gave one protection in battle, enhances healing and could protect one from sorcery. Amethyst healing lore includes its use as an aid in meditation and brings the bearer balance, courage and inner peace. It also was a gem of royalty being that it is purple and prior to 1800 was a rare gemstone, mostly mined in Siberia. After discovery in Brazil amethyst has become a common, attractive and affordable gemstone.