19 Curious Facts About February’s Birthstone: The Amethyst
As enchanting as it seems to our eyes, this semiprecious stone is also a real gem for its own mysticism. From its name story and intriguing myths and legends to its beneficial and healing powers, this alluring gemstone is repleted with a bunch of curious facts you didn’t know about.
1| Its name comes from the Greek word “amethystos” – and you won’t believe what it means
It means “not intoxicated” or “not drunk.” It was believed this stone prevented people from getting tipsy when drinking alcohol. The fun fact is that this goes back in time to the Greek myth, Dionysius.
He was commonly known as the “god of intoxication.” One day he got angered by a human’s insult and swore revenge on the next mortal to cross his path. And that human was Amethyst, a beautiful girl that was on her way to pay homage to the goddess Diana.
At that same moment, when Amethyst was about to be attacked by the claws of those violent tigers sent by Dionysius, Diana transformed Amethyst into a beautiful crystalline quartz to protect her. Dionysius, while witnessing the awful action he had made to that innocent woman, he begun to wipe tears of wine in remorse. Those tears of the god Dionysius stained that quartz in purple, and since then, the legend says that at this exact moment, the precious amethyst stone was created for the first time.
Besides this legend, there are a few other stories that refer to the origins of this precious stone. Some say it was the “god of wine”, Bacchus with the help of the goddess Artemis, and others say it was Bacchus who spilled a glass of wine on a transparent quartz statue. However, they all refer to a woman who turns into a quartz statue that, in one way or another, it dyes in that singular purple color.
2| Not only is February’s, but also Pisces’ traditional birthstone and the official gem for Wednesdays and Jupiter
It’s said that amethyst support Pisces’ spirituality and intuition, providing spiritual protection and inner peace by encouraging them to do a self-reflection to dig into the cause of their issues so that they can release pain and stress.
3| It’s a purple variety of quartz
In fact, the amethyst is the most valuable crystals in the quartz family – and the most highly prized variety of its family. It grows in veins where ferrous oxide solutions are rich, precisely a macrocrystalline variety of quartz, which owes its striking color to its chemical composition.
4| The intensity of its color determines its value
All amethysts are purple. However, those with a rich and deep purple color are rare and therefore more valuable.
*Curious fact: The most priced amethyst is a Siberian deep purple with red and blue flares.
5| Amethyst is relatively softer than most precious gemstones
That’s why cutters are allowed more room for creativity with their artistic designer cuts. We can see amethyst stones in Bernd Munsteiner’s bespoke ‘fantasy cut’, but also in oval, cushion, triangle, marquise, emerald, and even cabochon cuts.
6| Amethyst is a gemstone that works well with both minimalist or maximalist designs
You can find this semiprecious gemstone in a delicate ring, dainty studs, or small, classy pendants, or perhaps making a statement in a large cocktail ring or a big, startling necklace.
7| It’s classified as a Type 2 gemstone
This means the amethyst is usually found with few inclusions. That is to say, most of them are eye-clean.
8| Long time ago, amethysts were classified as precious gemstones
Due to the difficulties to treasure this stone, they were regarded as essential gems – even compared to diamonds. However, in the 19th century, large deposits of amethysts were discovered in South America, forcing this gemstone to relinquish its status to a semiprecious stone, and therefore devaluating its price.
9| Amethyst is one of the most adored gemstones by royalty
From ancient times until today, royal members and society’s elite from different parts of the world have kept at least one amethyst pieces in their jewelry cases.
It is known that fine amethysts were Queen Catherine’s the Great of Russia and Cleopatra’s favorite gemstone. However, we can also see royals wearing jewelry made with this semiprecious stone. A great example of an outstanding appearance of a royal wearing amethyst dates back to 1953 when the Duchess of Windsor dazzled with a striking amethyst, turquoise, and diamond necklace at l’Orangerie ball. It was made for her back in 1947.
*Curious fact: One of the most precious amethyst sets in the royal world belongs to Sweden’s Monarchy – and it’s filled with years of history behind it. It was initially owned by Napoleon’s first wife, Empress Joséphine. Then she gave it to her son, Eugène de Beauharnais, who later passed it to his daughter, Josephine of Leuchtenberg, who became queen of Sweden. We’ve spotted Queen Silvia, and Princess Madeleine shine in this magical crown and earring set several times.
10| One of the oldest sets of jewels in the Windsor Collection is the amethyst “demi-parure”
It belonged to Queen Victoria’s mother, the Duchess of Kent, and we’ve seen HRH Queen Elizabeth wearing it herself a few times.
11| You can get citrine from amethyst
If an amethyst reaches a temperature higher than 300ºC or 400ºC, it turns yellow, and it’s sold as a false citrine.
12| Amethyst can also be found on ametrine
Ametrine is a form of quartz that is a mixture of amethyst and citrine, combining their characteristic healing powers.
13| It’s traditionally given for 6th and 17th anniversaries
Amethysts are the traditional wedding anniversary gemstone gift to celebrate the 6th and the 17th years of marriage – also known as an iron anniversary – as it’s said to contain the energy of passion and love.
14| This semiprecious gemstone can be sourced in almost all continents
However, Brazil is one of the most active locations for the mining and faceting this semiprecious gemstone. Other places where the amethyst can be sourced are Africa, United States, Argentina, Uruguay, Russia, and Madagascar.
*Curious Fact: A city in Brazil called “Amethyst of the South” repleted with amethysts. Even the biggest church in the town is built with this violet gemstone – in fact, more than forty tons of amethyst were used to make it.
15| Its energetic effect is balancing and harmonizing
Amethysts are known for guarding against psychic attacks, transforming the energy, harm, and stress into love. This stone is also known for being a natural tranquilizer. It relieves stress, soothes irritability, balances mood swings, disperses anger, rages fear and anxiety, alleviates sadness and grief, and dissolves negativity. All of these positive benefits come from its precise balancing and harmonizing effects.
16| It’s said that amethyst has healing powers – especially for headaches, back pain, and pancreas
Healers, shamans, and medicine men throughout centuries have often referred to the amethyst as a healing stone for these specific problems. Especially when it’s in contact with that particular part of the body’s skin where the problem resides.
17| It’s often used as a Feng Shui tool
Depending on the area you use, this gemstone will provide different benefits. The amethyst is typically used in the ‘knowledge and wisdom area’ to increase self-love, reduce stress, enhance meditation and promote healthy sleep. However, it can also improve the flow of energies in any other area due to its characteristic versatility.
18| Due to its power of transforming bad energies into love, legends say this gemstone was used for love spells
It was believed that if someone spoke the name of their love into an amethyst stone, their love would be summoned.
19| In many cultures, the amethyst has been – and still is – a talisman
It was used to protect medieval European soldiers and help them win in war. In Ancient Egypt, it was used as a heart-shaped amulet during burial ceremonies. In Egypt, it is worn to protect while traveling, and the ancient Greeks used them as a talisman because they believed that when worn, this gemstone could bring out the highest and purest aspirations of humankind.
*Curious fact: A Bishop’s ring is commonly an oval-shaped amethyst with the diocesan seal engraved directly into the stone’s flat surface. It’s said that they used to wear this gem in a ring to prevent themselves from mystical intoxications.