Musings from the Amethyst: February's birthstone
Amethysts are widely accepted and revered as February's birthstone. Known primarily for it's deep, rich purple colouring caused by irradiation and trace amounts of iron, it can in fact come in a wide range of purples and lilacs, and even delicate pink or green (also known as Prasiolite).
Amethyst history & symbolism
The name Amethyst comes from the Greek word αμέθυστος amethystos from α- a-, "not" and μεθύσκω (Ancient Greek) methysko / μεθώ metho (Modern Greek), "intoxicate". The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that this stone would ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus (the god of wine and pleasure) and keep them clear headed and quick witted. Some would hold an amethyst in their mouths whilst drinking, or carve cups from this stone to counter the effects of drinking alcohol.
The stone used to be incredibly rare, and was considered one of only 5 cardinal gems, so was worn as a symbol of wealth or royalty. However, when new, extensive deposits were discovered in Brazil in the 19th century, it has since become far more widely available and therefore affordable. Amethyst remains a highly popular and sought-after stone.
Wearing & caring for Amethyst
Amethyst is a hard-wearing stone - it measures 7 (out of 10) on the Mohs scale of hardness, so will resist scratches from everyday wear and tear, making it a popular choice for jewellery that is worn daily. Other harder gemstones like Diamond, Sapphire or Rubies can still scratch it though, so be sure to keep your Amethyst jewellery stored separately from those harder stones if you have them.
When you need to clean your Amethyst jewellery, avoid mechanical systems that used steam or ultrasound, as Amethysts are heat sensitive and often include inclusions. Excessive heat can cause their colors to fade, and vibrations could make inclusions shatter. Instead, use a soft brush, mild detergent, and warm water. Ensure it is well dried aftwards with a soft cloth.
Celebrate with Amethyst
Widely known as the birthstone for February, Amethyst is also the stone that celebrates 33 years of marriage. It can also be used for a 6th wedding anniversary, which typically is known for iron, as it is in fact trace the amounts of iron in the stone that make it appear purple. And of course for anyone lucky enough to be born in February, this beautiful stone has long been recognised as the birthstone to celebrate this event.
February is a short but cold month for many of us around the world and this rich and luxurious stone is a wonderful way to bring warmth and comfort to your day.
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