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Birthstone of the month February: Amethyst

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Birthstone of the month February: Amethyst

The gemstone for February is the divine Amethyst. This birthstone has many associations throughout history but always stand for safety and protection, and a bit of wine. How safety and wine fit together? Read it all and more in our latest birthstone blog!

Table of contents

Amethyst and its associations

The Amethyst is the symbol of February when talking about birthstones. This beautiful purple gemstone of the month had many associations throughout the course of history. Even so many that we’ve decided to give each its own chapter within this blog.

What is the history of Amethysts and jewelry?

Amethysts: a few factor that remained constant throughout its history are its physical properties. The most obvious being its colour purple, although varying in vividness it can range from light to dark purple. A broader subject are the properties and values created by mankind.

Amethyst in Egypt

Amethysts in ancient Egypt

The Amethyst was a precious gemstone during this era and was being used in jewelry since then. Unlike the January birthstone Granate who was given to dead Pharaohs, the Amethyst was a gemstone for the living and served as jewelry for prayer and protection. Many early jewelers - and said magicians - carved Amethysts into animals and later on creating more abstract pieces that were being used for protective amulets.

Amethysts in Greek mythology

The Amethyst in Greece would prevent the wearer of becoming drunk. The word “Amethysos” meaning “not drunk” implicates their strong belief in this power. But why did they believe this?

As the short story goes it was the Greek God of Wine Dionysus who wanted to kill a young girl but was intervened by the Goddess Artemis. She turned the young mortal into a quartz statue to save her. Upon seeing this our God started to cry tears filled with wine. This gave the white Quartz its purple colour and said protection. The name of this girl you might have guessed by now: “Amethysos”.

So if you just had a Dry January and you are back to wine this month it may be good to buy one of these gemstones as soon as possible!

Amethysts in the middle ages and renaissance

During these ages the Amethyst was a symbol of holiness and Christ. They believed and told the purple hues represented a clear and clean spirit. A pure spirit that was achieved by suffering and atonement and even a representation of Jesus's wounds.

Because of this belief Amethysts were being used to decorate crosses and jewelry of Priests and Clerics. It also led to many mysterious tales about Amethysts that heal wounds, bring people closer with the divine and bring people good & happy dreams.

What are an Amethyst’s physical properties?

Amethysts are a form of quartz and receive their colour and structure by either radiation from sources that were nearby during its formation or the influence of impure iron. Of all quartz Amethysts are the hardest form, rating on 7.0 on Mohs scale (which rates 1 to 10).

Another interesting fact is that they can still be influenced by radiation after their formation. Although it is uncertain to tell how exactly it has been shown that UV-light can decrease the vividness of its purple colour.

Amethyst crystals

How do Amethysts form?

Amethysts are many times found in or near volcanic rocks which indicates that they would need enormous amounts of pressure and heat to form - combined with the said radiation or impure iron. Although this is a guess because extensive research into Amethysts is not valuable and thus less prioritized.

Their formation has the very interesting aspect of being formed within so called geodes. These are rocks that seem to be ordinary from the outside but once opened they show the purple crystals. This happens when gas bubbles form within lava and cool down on the outside creating a cavity. On the inside a liquid slowly forms into quartz crystals.

How to determine the value of Amethysts?

How much is an Amethyst worth? A question that is hard to define from behind a computer without proper examination. Still we want to give you an indication and we can tell it's mostly influenced by its colour because all other properties remain fairly constant.

The most popular colour within Amethysts is called "Deep Siberian" which is named after its mining location. It has a 75-80% primary hue of purple, with 15–20% blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues.

Opposed to this dark purple stone the “Rose de France” is growing in popularity because of its light and soft shimmering. This makes these Amethysts very useful for unique transparent cuts.

This means that within Amethysts the Carat weight plays a role that is much less than for example with diamonds. Where some gemstones grow exponentially in value when looking at carats this type of gemstone is growing gradually in price. They come in large amounts and sizes so it is not needed to pay high prices for stones with visible or large inclusions.

How to maintain and clean your Amethyst?

Amethysts can be carefully cleaned with a towel and warm soapy water but try to avoid too much heat (don’t use a dry blower) and don’t clean the gemstone everyday. If you have the Amethyst in your jewelry please take in mind which kind of other materials are available while cleaning. As always we suggest to leave this to an expert or ask for personal advise as many different factors are at work with gemstones.

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