Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Amethyst: February’s Birthstone is the Stone of Royalty

Amethyst’s history is as rich as its brilliant purple coloring. It has been said that both Cleopatra and Saint Valentine favored amethyst. Cleopatra wore an amethyst signet ring while St. Valentine’s stone was engraved with the figure of his assistant, Cupid, a coincidence that Valentine’s Day is in February?

Amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos” meaning “not drunk” and while it was possibly believed that wearing amethyst would keep one from becoming intoxicated, most likely the Greeks were referring to the stone’s almost wine-like color. Will one of the remaining birthstones help ward off hangovers? Also symbolic of spirituality and piety, many people believe the wearing of amethyst allow one to channel positive universal energy.

Effervescence Pendant with amethyst
To be a true amethyst the stone must be purple though varying shades from deep violet to pure, clear lavender are perfectly acceptable. A member of the quartz family, amethysts are unique to different locales and many times gem experts can often identify the particular region, and in some cases even the particular mine a stone originated from. Historically the majority of amethysts were mined in Russia and were featured prominently in many royal jewels. Today while most amethyst are imported from Brazil and Zambia some stones are mined right here in the United States particularly in Maine, North Carolina and Colorado.

You’ll mainly see amethyst stones set as brilliant round cuts due to the often patchiness of their color distribution. Other shapes are permissible when the color is more uniform, but remember, all amethyst is always purple. "Green amethyst" has gained a lot of popularity recently, however, this name is misapplied. Green amethyst is indeed a member of the quartz family, but the true name for this leek green gem is Prasiolite.

With amethyst an affordable stone, it’s easy to invest in a stunning piece and feel like royalty every time you wear it!

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