All About the February Birthstone: Amethyst
People born in the month of February are lucky to have purple amethyst as their birthstone. According to legend, Saint Valentine wore an amethyst ring carved with Cupid’s likeness, so it’s fitting for February birthdays. Some individuals choose to give their special someone an amethyst engagement or promise ring to symbolize royalty and power. If you’d like to read more about this stunning stone, keep reading to learn more about amethyst’s background, meaning, care, and quality.
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The term amethyst gets its name from the Greek word amethystos, which means “not intoxicated.” It expresses the ancient folk belief that the stone protects its owner (and resembles the color of wine).
You likely recognize this stone from its brilliant shades of purple. The shades range from a light shade of lilac to a deep plum color. Within each stone, the color intensity varies because of the unique angles of the cut.
Amethyst is a variety of quartz and its chemical makeup is composed of silicon dioxide. Quartz is formed in lava, specifically when gas bubbles become trapped, allowing crystals to form inside the cavities created by the bubbles. When the cavities are filled with a silica-rich liquid, crystals begin to form within volcanic rocks.
Where Are Amethysts Mined?
Amethysts are mined in many places all over the world–Brazil as geodes within volcanic rocks, Uruguay, South Korea, Russia, United States, and South India. Some amethyst geodes, especially those mined in Brazil, are large enough for a person to stand inside of them! Naturally formed geodes take millions of years to form, and most geodes have been forming since prehistoric times.
Amethyst Birthstone Meaning
Some believe amethysts are a powerful spiritual stone that represents calmness and stillness. It’s said this stone relieves an individual from stress and strain, soothes irritability, and balances mood swings as well as dispelling anger, rage, fear, and anxiety. If you celebrate a February birthday, wearing an amethyst can be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength.
- Color: The most important factor in determining the value of amethyst is its color. The gem should be a reddish to deep purple color and should not contain any color zoning. Color zoning is when there are bronze-colored tints within the stone, the presence of which significantly reduces the value of the gem. Stones should not be too dark because it can make them appear dull and dark under certain light.
- Clarity: High-quality versions of this stone are “eye-clean” meaning it is free of any visible inclusions. The gems that contain inclusions are of lesser quality and are often made into beads. The amount of inclusions a stone contains can sometimes be a product of its origin, with Brazilian amethysts typically having fewer inclusions.
- Cut: Amethysts can be cut in many different ways. Cuts can include oval, triangle, cushion, emerald cuts, as well as other unique freeform shapes.
- Carat: When purchasing amethyst it is important to note that the price does not increase significantly with larger carat sizes. This makes amethysts a great option for larger jewelry designs.
Treatments in gemstones are uncommon, except in two situations: when it is used to enhance color and less inclusions, or to turn it into another type of gemstone. Amethyst is usually treated because it can be extremely dark (to turn it lighter), or it can be used to make it into another type of quartz.
Shopping for Amethysts
Amethyst gifts are amazing to give and to receive, and you’ll find plenty of available options. Whether you or your special man or woman admires amethysts or has a February birthday, these eye-catching stones are ideal for holidays, anniversaires, graduation, weddings, mother’s day, or as a “just because” present.
Start browsing earrings, necklaces, rings, engagement rings, and jewelry sets for gift ideas. Amethyst rings continue to be popular, and it’s an even more popular choice for engagement rings and promise rings.
When shopping for rings, use the 4Cs to evaluate each piece of jewelry and pay special attention to the color. Keep budget and personal preferences into account–especially if it’s a gift.
Caring for your Amethyst
You want to keep your jewelry sparkling for years, so it’s important to care for it. Store your jewelry in a lined, compartmentalized jewelry box so harder stones rub against it and scratch it. If your stone was heat treated, it might be more brittle so you’ll need to pay extra care to faceted corners and sharp edges.
You can use an ultrasonic cleaner on amethyst jewelry unless it was dyed or has filled fractures, but avoid steam cleaning because of its heat levels. A soft brush with mild soap is the safest option for cleaning everyday debris.
What does Amethyst represent?
It represents calmness and stillness. It’s said this stone relieves an individual from stress and strain, soothes irritability, and balances mood swings as well as dispelling anger, rage, fear, and anxiety.
Is Amethyst a good jewelry for everyday wear?
Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. It is appropriate for daily use in rings and other jewelry, but may show some wear over time and require repolishing.
What is the right budget for amethyst jewelry?
Prices for amethyst jewelry vary greatly depending on the quality of the stone (grade), the piece of jewelry, type of metal, and the cost of any other gemstones on the jewelry. As an example, you can find a range of amethyst rings set in 14K gold with purple stones up to 3.05 carats for between $400-$4,000. These can contain one or multiple gemstones, and some styles come with diamonds.
Is Amethyst a precious gem?
Amethysts are a semi-precious stone.