February Birthstone is an Amethyst – semi-precious stone that is followed by interesting beliefs and unconventional usage in Greek culture.
Every month has its birthstone, and in this article, we’re going to tell you a bit more about amethyst.
What is Amethyst
Amethyst is a semi-precious stone and it’s a purple variation of quartz – known as a crystalline mineral composed of silica. Its beautiful, violet colour comes from irradiation, contamination of iron, and sometimes other transition metals, with the presence of other trace elements. That structure results in a complex crystal substitution.
The Greek name Amethyst can be translated as “not drunk” from Greek a-, “not” + methustos. In Greek culture, they believed that the amethyst would prevent its owner from drunkenness.
That’s why Ancient Greeks wore amethyst and made drinking vessels from it, thinking that it would protect them from intoxication.
Because of its solidity, nowadays it is a suitable stone for jewellery.
Amethyst Origins, Properties, and Formation Process
Amethyst was first discovered around the 2000s, and it was found in many locations around the world. Between 2000 and 2010, the biggest production was from Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Zambia, and Ontario.
In Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul, the Amethyst was discovered in large geodes within volcanic rocks, which makes Brazil one of the largest producers of Amethyst today.
Amethyst exists in primary variations from light lavender or pale violet, to a deep purple. The ideal gem class is called “Deep Siberian” and has a purple hue of around 75-80% with 15-20% blue and red, secondary variations.
Called “Rose de France”, the variation of Amethyst that has a light shade of purple (lilac shade) was considered undesirable, but recently it became very popular due to marketing.
The specific Amethyst colour has been demonstrated to result from substitution by irradiation of trivalent iron for silicon in the structure, in the presence of trace elements of the large ionic radius but its colour can also be created from displacements of transition elements.
Natural amethyst is dichroic in violet and bluish violet colour, but if heated it gets a yellow-orange, yellow-brown, or dark brown variant. When heated partially, you can get ametrine.
If overexposed to light, the amethyst can fade for a tone and can also be artificially darkened with adequate irradiation.
Its crystal structure is hexagonal and each crystal inside of an Amethyst Geode has 6 sides.
Synthetic amethyst is created using a method called hydrothermal growth which allows crystals to grow inside a high-pressure autoclave. Those lab-created amethyst imitate the best quality of this purple stone – it has the same chemical and physical properties as the natural amethyst and the differences cannot be detected without advanced gemological testing.
One interesting fact is that Amethyst is the most valued crystal in the quartz family. It was rated with 7 on the Mohs scale, which means it is extremely scratch-resistant and more than suitable for jewellery.
Amethyst Usage and Meanings
Generally, this beautiful purple crystal is mostly used in the production of jewellery, but like many other gems, this one wasn’t excluded from many different beliefs and cultures.
While the Greeks thought that amethyst will prevent intoxication, medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets in a battle thinking that it has the power of healing people and keeping them cool-headed.
In ancient China, the amethyst was used for the removal of negative energy and to drive away from the hazards of daily life.
What we found interesting is that Amethyst was used as a love spell. In the ancient world, they would speak the name of the person they loved into an Amethyst stone to summon their love.
Nowadays, amethyst is also used for alternative medical purposes. It is believed that it’s a natural tranquillizer, which means that it relieves stress and strain, affects mood swings, dispels anger, rage, fear, and anxiety.
It is also believed that it heals insomnia, encourages selflessness and spiritual wisdom, strengthens the immune system, and can help in fighting against many diseases, including lung diseases and cancer.
Yet, its most common purpose is to serve as a beautiful piece of jewellery. You can check out some truly astonishing pieces with amethyst on our website that will (in the worst case scenario) serve you as an incredible detail everyone will notice.
How Much is Amethyst Worth?
Unlike some other gems, Amethyst can be very affordable, even at the higher grades.
The cost of the Amethyst will vary depending on its origin and the purple colour. The darker purples will be more prized but at the same time, they are not as sparky as the lighter tones.
The price for amethyst ranges from £15 to £22 per carat with some breathtaking pieces around for £30 per carat.
The most beautiful Amethyst is very clean and completely untreated and you can find it in large sizes. It’s quite a durable gem and is suitable for all kinds of jewellery.
Amethyst is a birthstone of February and even if it was present since ancient times, it was only discovered around 20 years ago.
One interesting fact is that Amethyst is usually bought because of its precious, purple colour, not because of the carat.
Its colour can vary from all variations of purple to blue, yellow, and even reddish. It also has a slightly transparent structure and can be discovered all over the world.
What is definitely impressive and worth seeing, is the largest Amethyst Cathedral in the world called the Empress of Uruguay. It is almost eight feet tall and weighs over 5000 pounds.
Amethyst is valued for its protective and healing nature, and even nowadays, it can be used as alternative medicine.
Many traditions follow Amethyst, and besides that, it’s a birthstone of February, Amethyst is traditionally given for the sixth anniversary.
Check out our shop to see beautiful pieces of jewellery with amethyst!