22 Fascinating Facts About February's Birthstone

History, Folklore, and Facts

Amethyst, February's birthstone
Tomekbudujedomek / Getty Images

February's birthstone is amethyst, which is an enchanting purple stone that is associated with royalty. Amethyst is one of the more popular gemstones on the market, and most people know it by name.

The purple quartz variety is abundant and affordable, making it a staple for many jewelry collectors whether or not they were born in February. Isn't it odd that such an accessible stone is associated with royalty and wealth?

There's a lot that people don't know about amethyst. We're sharing some remarkable amethyst facts filled with science and intrigue. We'll also explain how this stone went from a stone of the wealthy to a jewel of the masses.

Amethyst Buying Information

amethyst buying information
Dmytro Lastovych / Getty Images
  1. Amethyst gets its purple color from trace amounts of iron that are mixed with gamma rays from radioactive host rocks.
  2. Amethyst comes in a wide range of shades from light lilac to deep purple.
  3. Some amethyst stones are heat treated or irradiated to enhance their color. Sometimes lighter shades of amethyst are heated and turned into golden citrine or green prasiolite.
  4. Generally, the darker and more reddish the color, the more expensive the stone. However, if the stone is too dark, it might be treated to lighten it and remove any traces of brown.
  5. Amethyst is the most expensive variety of quartz. Other quarts stones include rose quartz and citrine.
  6. Companies mine amethyst in rocks all over the world. However, there is only one commercially run amethyst mine in the United States, located in Arizona.
  7. Despite its affordability, synthetic and simulated versions of amethyst exist. Qualified gemologists can identify synthetic amethyst by looking for inclusions and color zoning. Simulated amethyst is made from glass or crystal.
  1. Amethyst gemstones are sold by the carat, but the majority of amethyst rough is marketed by the pound or ton. This material is sold as geodes or crystals for crystal healers and collectors. These crystals can be as small as the palm of your hand or as large as a bathtub.

Amethyst Care

amethyst care
Robyn Manning / EyeEm / Getty Images
  1. Store your amethyst jewelry in a dark, dry location. Too much exposure to sunlight can cause darker amethyst gemstones to fade over time.
  2. This stone is relatively durable with a Mohs hardness rating of seven out of 10. Keep in mind that harder stones like diamonds can scratch the surface of amethyst.
  3. Amethyst is brittle and susceptible to chipping or cracking. Avoid wearing amethyst jewelry while engaging in physical activities.

Amethyst History

amethyst amulet with a carved face
DEA / G. DAGLI ORTI / Getty Images
  1. Amethyst dates as far back as 3,000 BC. The stone was carved into amulets and used as talismans for prayer and protection from harm during battle. The ancient Egyptians believed it could guard a person against poison.
  2. At one time, amethyst was worth as much as emeralds, sapphires, and rubies due to limited quantities. Now, commercial amethyst sells for significantly less per carat as a like-quality precious stone because of large deposits found in Brazil in the 1800s.
  3. Medieval churches often used amethyst in jewelry as a symbol of wisdom and divinity. The Bishop's ring and the ring of St. Valentine both have amethyst as the central stone.
  4. Amethyst was used in many crown jewels and has been worn by royalty throughout the ages. One of the oldest existing examples is the Italian “Iron Crown of Lombardy” from the Middle Ages.

Amethyst Symbolism

Amethyst symbolism
SunChan / Getty Images
  1. This purple stone has ancient origins in Greek mythology. According to myth, the Greek god of wine, Dionysus went after a young maiden. To protect her, the goddess Diana turned the woman into stone. Dionysus in his grief poured wine over the stone, turning it purple. There are other versions of this story, but the basic premise is the same.
  2. The word amethyst comes from the Greek word 'amethystos' which translates as 'not drunk.' Many Greeks and Romans believed that the stone could guard against drunkenness. In keeping, they would drink wine from chalices carved out of amethyst, and likely get drunk anyway.

Amethyst Healing Properties

amethyst healing properties
JGI/Jamie Grill / Getty Images
  1. Despite a lack of scientific evidence, there are tons of people who believe in the healing powers of amethyst based on anecdotal evidence. In fact, the healing crystal market has been booming in recent years.
  2. Some believe that amethyst has calming effects that can help people fall and stay asleep. To get this effect, believers place an amethyst crystal under their pillow.
  3. Amethyst is used as an intuitive stone that enhances clarity and helps develop one's psychic abilities.
  4. Are you feeling down on yourself? This stone has been used to increase one's self-esteem and decrease anger.
  5. In feng shui, amethyst has been used to clear spaces of negative energy and protect the area from harm.