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February Birthstone: What exactly is Amethyst?

By Tony on 2/1/2016
Amethyst Gemstone color spectrum

February Birthstone: What exactly is Amethyst?

For any of our lovely customers celebrating their birthday this month, they surely know that their birthstone is Amethyst. For those of you who have family and friends with birthdays this month, now you know that the purple gemstone of royalty belongs to them!

This gem has been found in the personal items of many kings and queens throughout the ages. Purple, known as the color of royalty, is a staple of any king or queen so Amethyst is an obvious choice for any crown or scepter! Most notably, Catherine the Great of Russia was especially fond of this beautiful gemstone. Her everyday items from rings, necklaces, and scrunchies... well the 17th century equivalent to a scrunchy at least.

One of the more affordable gemstones, Amethyst ranks as a beautiful staple for the royal necklace or a great accent to a unique diamond engagement ring. However it is used in jewelry, this birthstone is a beautiful addition to anyone's wardrobe.

The Technical Specs of an Amethyst Birthstone

To get a little bit more 'granular' for a moment, we want to expand on what an Amethyst really is. This stone is the purple variety of the quartz mineral. The color spectrum of the stone can range from a dark plum color to a slight hint of lavender. This lavish color stems from the remnants of iron in the crystalline structure when it was formed.

Although the most sought after stones are the dark purple natural stones, many of the natural stones contain "color zoning". Color Zoning is the attribute of having multiple colors or shades of that color within the gem. While natural stones can contain this, heat treatments of the stone can lighten the hue of dark colored Amethyst, making the stone more enticing.

Found in many geographic regions from Brazil, Zambia and even in the United States near Arizona, Amethyst is a very prevalent stone geographically speaking. Amethyst, and quartz in general, doesn't have a "predetermined" geographic region. It can form in most places, but do not get too excited about finding it in your backyard in Frankfort, IL. It is most typically found in mountainous areas or craters, that are not found in Illinois. (If you are a gem hunter however, check for fluorite, our state mineral).

Why is Amethyst the February birthstone?

Like every birthstone, there really is no "factual" evidence on "why 'X' birthstone is for 'Y' month?". No one truly knows. What we do know is that in 1912, the official list was adopted by Jewelers of America. From this many different theories were created, stemming from the Bible and even from the Zodiac, but what we do know about Amethyst's history may tell us why it is in February.

Bacchus by Caravaggio Amethyst God

Some history on the stone from the ancients points of view may shed some light. The name of "Amethyst" comes from Greek that has been translated to "not drunken". This stems from the ancient Greek belief that it wards off the effects of alcohol. Furthermore, the Ancient Roman God of Wine and Partying, Bacchus, was very much associated with this birthstone. Even seen as his living symbolism on Earth.

Why do we bring this up? As wine-makers as well as jewelers, we know that by the month of February it is time for our wine to be bottled and ready for consumption. The deep purple color of wine and the dark Amethyst quartz may be the vital connection on why this stone was picked. Or the Jewelers of America just opened their bottle of Pinot Noir when it was time to decide on February.

Now we know that this is a long-shot, there is one thing we know to be true. Whether you find it in a bracelet, necklace or ring Amethyst is one of the most beautiful and unique stones there is. Just like those with birthdays in February, beautiful and unique like their stone!

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