Are you celebrating a birthday or anniversary in February? This month’s birthstone is a gorgeous gemstone - the amethyst. It’s the only birthstone for the month and is traditionally gifted for the sixth wedding anniversary, but it also makes for a great gift to celebrate any anniversary or special occasion!
The amethyst is a type of quartz and gets a score of 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which means it can be used in jewelry you’ll wear daily. It is important to remember that it isn’t as hard as other gemstones, so pairing it with those that score higher on the Mohs scale (such as a diamond, sapphire, or ruby) could lead to scratches on the amethyst. You’ll find amethysts in various shades of purple, from light lavender, to pinkish tones, to rich purples. They usually have great clarity, so the color will really shine.
History of the amethyst
The amethyst can be found around the world, but for the longest time, Russia was the main source of this gemstone. However, starting in the 19th century, large amounts of amethysts were found in Brazil. Before the mining in Brazil began, amethysts had been extremely rare. Since then, it has become widely available and can be found for reasonable prices. Amethyst is now found primarily in Africa and South America; Brazil continues to be a major supplier. If you get amethyst from Brazilian mines, it will often be a lighter purple than that mined from many other places.
One of the best known amethyst mines is in Bolivia. Its history is fascinating; it was discovered by a conquistador in the 1600s when it was gifted to him as part of his bride’s dowry; she was a princess of the local Ayoreo tribe. Then, it lay dormant and forgotten for a few centuries, before it was accidentally rediscovered in the 1960s. It’s very well-known for it’s mixed amethyst and citrine gemstones.
Myths around amethyst
There are many myths surrounding this stunning gemstone - one of which was that in Ancient Greece they believed that anyone who wore an amethyst was protected from drunkenness and could keep their mind clear and focused. This myth is quite literally where the name of the gemstone came from. The Greek word amethystos translates to “a remedy against drunkenness.” Because of its grape-like color and this myth, many associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine, festivals, and agriculture.
During the Renaissance, people believed that amethysts kept the wearer from being overrun with passion. They also believed that it gave strength to the person wearing it. Purple has long been considered a color for royalty, which led to amethyst being worn by many members of the nobility, such as Catherine the Great.
If you’re looking for a great piece of amethyst jewelry, stop by Vanscoy, Maurer & Bash Diamond Jewelers in Lancaster, PA. We have amethysts in various types of jewelry and can even create an amethyst engagement ring if you want an alternative gemstone. You can also call or text us at 717-299-4283 with any questions.