Amethyst - Februarys Gemstone of Purple Passion

By: Sarah Stephens

Amethyst is a semi-precious gemstone frequently incorporated into some of the most modern, beautiful handmade jewelry in the world. It is most often found in shades of purple or red, and is considered both the February Birthstone and the 6th Anniversary gemstone. But beyond its modern-day uses and associations, amethyst holds a decadent mythological, spiritual and etymological history that adds nostalgic value to its already strong aesthetic worth. Read on for more information that will help you fall in love with your amethyst jewelry - or inspire you to buy some today!

Amethyst is a purple variety of the quartz family whose name derives from the Greek word "amethustos," or "not to intoxicate." According to Greek myth, Dionysus, the God of Intoxication, became infuriated by an insult and swore revenge on the next person to cross his path. Amethyst, a young maiden, was that person. When she saw the young girl in trouble, Goddess Diana acted quickly to save Amethyst, turning her into a statue of crystalline quartz. Dionysus saw the statue and became overwhelmed with grief, spilling out remorseful tears of wine and thus staining the quartz the familiar purple color we see today.

In the past and still today, Amethyst is used to heal headaches, alleviate sugar imbalances and stabilize negative influences. To many the stone encourages peace of mind by opening of the third "celestial" eye, located in the center of the forehead.

Amethyst gemstones look best as parts of formal evening jewelry when paired with Black Onyx, black pearls or diamonds. More casual combinations include contrasts such as purple amethyst with the yellow-brown citrine, white pearls, raw diamonds or light blue aquamarine. To see a selection of handmade artisan jewelry featuring amethyst, click here. Amethyst is typically considered a sophisticated gemstone that works well with any outfit. In earrings, it works especially well to enhance the glitter of brown or hazel eyes.

Amethyst was one of the first gemstones to be used by man and is often found set into religious jewelry, such as rosaries. The gem is considered sacred to Buddha. Once largely mined in Russia, Amethyst now mostly comes from Africa and South America.

Mohs' Hardness score is based on a 10 point scale where 10 is the most resistant, like a diamond, and 1 is easily scratched, such as Talc. Like the rest of the quartz family, amethyst gets a score of 7, meaning that it is fairly scratch resistant and therefore suitable as a component of jewelry. Amethyst gemstones should be regularly cleaned by a professional or with a soft rag and mild soap and water. Avoid ultrasonic cleaners, solvents and harsh chemicals when cleaning your handcrafted jewelry as exposure to these elements can damage semi-precious and precious gemstones and pearls.

Learn more about all semi-precious gemstones, including apatite, aquamarine, black onyx, blue topaz, carnelian, chalcedony, citrine, coral, white topaz, crystal, diamond, emerald, garnet, iolite, jade, Labradorite, moonstone, pearl, peridot, prehnite, rose quarz, ruby, sapphire, smokey topaz, tanzanite, tourmaline and tourquoise when you check out this gemstone chart.

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