What is My Birthstone - February
February's Birthstone is the absolutely gorgeous and tantalising Amethyst.
Amethyst hues vary from a light lavender or pale violet to a deep purple and is a variety of quartz. It's name derives from the Greek "amethystos" loosely meaning "not intoxicating", a reference to the belief that the stone protected it's wearer from intoxication. Ancient Greeks wore Amethyst and carved drinking vessels from it in the hope that it would prevent one from getting drunk.
Whilst medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people and keep them cool-headed. Beads of amethyst have been discovered in Anglo-Saxon graves in England.
Anglican bishops wear an episcopal ring often set with an amethyst, an allusion to the description of the Apostles as "not drunk" at Pentecost in Acts 2:15.
These days, of course, it's more often used to adorn jewellery; rings, pendants, earrings, bracelets, brooches.
Amethyst is thought to help relieve stress and anxiety and to help prevent headaches, fatigues and anxiety. It is also reputed to improve your skin. The meaning of amethyst is attached to serenity, understanding, trust and grace
High-quality amethyst can be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Uruguay and the Far East.
Until the 18th century, amethyst was included in the cardinal, or most valuable, gemstones (along with it's more famous cousins; diamond, sapphire, ruby and emerald) but since the discovery of extensive deposits in locations such as Brazil, it has lost some value. It is now considered a semiprecious stone.
Collectors look for depth of colour, possibly with red flashes if cut conventionally. As amethyst is readily available in large structures, the value of the gem is not primarily defined by carat weight. This is different from most gemstones, since the carat weight typically exponentially increases the value of the stone. The biggest factor in the value of amethyst is the color displayed.
The highest-grade amethyst (called "Deep Russian") is exceptionally rare. When one is found, its value is dependent on the demand of collectors.
Amethyst has a good hardness and handling it with proper care will prevent any damage to the stone. Amethyst is sensitive to strong heat though and may lose or change its colour when exposed to prolonged heat or light. Polishing the stone or cleaning it by ultrasonic or steamer must be done with caution.