Tuesday, February 03, 2009

February's Royal Birthstone

Ahhh, Amethyst. The birthstone of February is the next in my series of posts on birthstones and other gemstones. You can view the previous posts here and here.

The name Amethyst comes from the greek word "amethustos" meaning sober or not drunk. Amethyst is a member of the quartz family, and not only can be found in gemstone form but in geodes as well. It can be found in Mexico, Brazil, USA, canada, Africa, and various other countries. Amethyst is always purple but comes in various shades of purple from pale lilac to a deep purple. Now this where you say what about Green Amethyst? Well, Green Amethyst is actually Prasiolite, another member of the quartz family. Most Amethysts today are heat treated to produce the dark royal purple color.

Not only is Amethyst the birthstone of February, but it is also the birthstone for the zodiac sign, Pisces. It is considered a Pisces' lucky charm. It is suitable as a gift for the 4th, 6th, and 17th wedding anniversaries.

In Greek mythology, it is said that Amethyst comes from the Gods. The story goes that Dionysus, god of intoxication, was angry because of an insult he received from a mere mortal. He then swore to get revenge on the next mortal he saw. Along comes a beautiful maiden, Amethyst, on her way to pay tribute to Diana. Dionysus created fierce tigers and had them attack Amethyst who cried out to Diana for help. Hearing her cry, Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure white crystalline quartz to protect her. Seeing what he had done, Dionysus was overcome with remorse and started to cry. His tears fell into his cup of wine which he then spilled when he collapsed. The wine spilled over Amethyst's statue staining it a dark purple.

This is why Amethyst is considered to protect against drunkenness and symbolizes sobriety. Amethyst is also said to help with insomnia, hearing disorders, and headaches. In Feng Shui, it is supposed to enhance the wealth corner with focus on the giving and receiving of material wealth.

Amethyst is said to bring out the purest, highest aspirations of humankind and encourages calm, bravery, and contemplation. It is associated with the crown chakra where divine essence enters and is the suggested gemstone for children.

A few quick fun facts for Amethyst. Amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and a favorite of Catherine the Great. In the 1900's, an pure Amethyst Crystal Skull was discovered in Mexico. It was found to have been carved along the natural axis of the stone which is nearly impossible proving it is an Ancient skull. A 400lb Amethyst geode is in the Smithsonian Institute.

Hope you have enjoyed this article on Amethyst and have learned a few things. Can't wait until next month for my birthstone, Aquamarine. If there are any other gemstones besides the birthstone variety you would like to learn about, let me know, and I'll start researching them.


Jen Sue Wild said...

I love Amethyst I was so glad when it was my youngest borth stone..

Jen Sue Wild said...

lets try this again my youngest daughters birth stone.

Blondie's Journal said...

A wonderful post as this is my birthstone (shhh, today is the big day!). I never knew all of this about amethyst!! It is the 1st ring my husband gave me (after the wedding ring of course) and I treasure it. :-)

How lucky for me to come to your blog today! Thank you so much!


Aunt Spicy said...

What a great post! I can't wait till July to read about Ruby's!

bfs ~ "Mimi" said...

Amethyst is so beautiful. Wore my ring, angel necklace, and earrings today ~ yes, Amethyst!

Love your history lessons!

Laura Ingalls Gunn said...

I have always loved the amethyst. Aquamarine is one of my favorites so I can't wait until next month. :)
The Greek mythology link was so interesting to me. I had never heard that story before. Write on!

Craftymoose Crafts said...

Really nice post...It's so interesting to learn these facts!

Sarah McBride said...

Although i am a July birthday and love rubies, I have always worn Amethysts. I love them. Maybe I need to wear mroe to help curb some of my headaches!

Julia said...

Totally cool! I love my birthstone. I would like to get some new amethyst ear rings some day. I had some really nice ones and lost one...:(