Amethyst the February Birthstone

amethyst february birthstone

The gorgeous purple gemstone, Amethyst – the February’s birthstone – is one of the most loved and purchased gemstones – not just in February but all the year around. But amethyst isn’t only available in purple colour – green amethyst is a subtle, soft green colour which is, in my opinion, one of the most elegant of stones.

The amethyst we all think of for February is a rich, deep purple and a form of quartz. Known as a semi-precious stone in times past it was revered to such a degree that it was known as a precious stone and was almost as expensive as diamond!

Amethyst these days is a relatively inexpensive gem and makes a perfect gift for a February birthday. The colour suits most people and most outfits. There aren’t many people who don’t like amethyst so it becomes a thoughtful yet easy gift.

Read on to discover all you wanted to know about this delightful gemstone.

Silver Heart pendant with Amethyst the February Birthstone and CZ
Amethyst and CZ Open Heart Pendant – Carathea

What is Amethyst?

The February birthstone amethyst is a type of quartz crystal, which is in bountiful supply therefore it’s now relatively inexpensive (this wasn’t always so). It is one of the harder stones, measuring 7 on the Mohs Hardness Scale. For these reasons, and its beautiful violet colour, it is a perfect choice for use in jewellery making. 

It is perfect gem for everyday wear.

amethyst crystal
Amethyst Crystal Source:DepositPhotos

Even for the most cost-conscious, a pair of amethyst earrings make a beautiful jewellery gift for February birthday.

The name amethyst stems from the Greek word amethystos – which translates to “not drunk”. For this reason, centuries ago ancient Greeks believed that adding ground amethyst to an alcoholic drink with the belief it would prevent the drinker becoming inebriated. It was known as the “sobriety” stone. The fact that amethyst has a wine-like colour, is not lost on some people.

But amethyst lends itself to cultivating a level-headed, calm and ‘sober’ mindset, hence its been used for meditation, spiritual and religious ceremonies for centuries.

Amethyst the February Birthstone

Like the garnet in January, February has only one birthstone and that is amethyst. Whilst Amethyst is a hugely popular birthstone, it is a popular gemstone all the year round, probably one of the most popular.

Birthstones make great gift ideas – they add an extra meaning to a birthday present. If you’re looking for some inspiration on these theme, check out our article, “10 Unique Birthstone Gift Ideas for Her“.

Anniversary Stone

Amethyst is associated with the sixth and the seventeenth wedding anniversaries.

amethyst gem pendant
Amethyst’s Colour

The most popular colour for amethyst is a rich, deep purple. The colour is influenced by the amount of iron the rock in which the amethyst has formed. It has slight tones deep reddish purple and/or a deep violet colour. Amethyst can range from a pale lilac or lavender colour. The colour will be consistent throughout the gem with no bands or patches. 

A less well-known but exquisite amethyst colour is the luxurious-looking green amethyst – a soft, clear green colour and incredibly flattering in its elegance. We have a separate article on Green Amethyst – Prasolite here.

There is also an exquisite pink amethyst gemstone – shown in this pendant below.

Where is Amethyst Found?

Large deposits of amethyst are found all over the world and is in bountiful supply. Amethyst is even found in the UK, but is found more readily in the United States, Canada, South America, India, and Sri Lanka. Mexico and Brazil also have deposits.

Amethyst crystals grow to be very large in size and, consequently, there is a plentiful supply, hence it is widely available.

How Does Amethyst Form?

Amethyst is formed in nature as a result of volcanic rock, where the lava produces a hollow rock, called basalt. These igneous rocks become vessels which hold minerals and water. Over time, crystals form within these cavities.

All quartz forms this way. As the volcanic magma cools, just like water turns to ice upon cooling, so silicon dioxide cools to form crystals. The colour of the crystals will depend upon the other minerals present. If there is iron present as the crystals form, then this gives the quartz its purple colour.

Different Types of Amethyst

As we have mentioned, as well as the purple variety of amethyst, green amethyst is available. Ametrine is amethyst with citrine – a different coloured quartz. 

14ct Gold Ametrine Earrings with Diamonds – Fred Meyer

The History of Amethyst

Amethyst has been a prized gemstone for hundreds, if not thousands, of years and has a rich history. It was a featured gemstone in the Breastplate of Aaron.

The ancient Egyptians made carvings out of the amethyst gem and many animal carving have been found with small drill holes in them, suggesting they had been worn or carried as protection.

Amethyst has been worn by royalty, nobility and the clergy in their religious jewellery.

Metaphysical Beliefs About Amethyst

The amethyst crystal is associated with the crown chakra, its violet purple colour corresponding to this area. It is often used as an aid in meditation and is calming and centering.

Its “healing energies” are said to include helping to keep the wearer clear headed, with tempered thoughts, clarity of purpose and calm decision making. 

Because of its association with helping to remain sober and its calming presence, it has been used as a little support for people who are trying to abstain from any bad habit or addiction or evil thoughts.

Often associated with love, St Valentine wore an amethyst ring carved to depict Cupid, therefore has a connection to Valentines and this makes amethyst jewellery a perfect Valentines Day jewellery gift. 

Cleaning Amethyst Gemstones

Whilst amethyst is a relatively hard stone, it may have cleavages within it which can separate under vibration, such as an ultrasound machine so this should be avoided.

Heat may also affect the colour, so it is advisable not to clean your amethyst gemstones with steam or heat treatments.

We would advise cleaning this gem with a mild soap detergent and a soft brush, followed by drying and buffing with a soft cloth.

Lab Created Amethyst

Whilst there is a lab-created amethyst gem, natural amethyst is so abundant. easy to work with and relatively cheap so there is little point.

Amethyst Coloured Cubic Zirconia

Because amethyst is such a beautiful colour crystals and cubic zirconia are made in the colour of amethyst and set into jewellery. These should not be confused with amethyst as they are still a man-made cubic zirconia but with a colour of amethyst. You get the colour of amethyst and the uniformity and clarity of cubic zirconia. These will be sold as “amethyst cubic zirconia” or “amethyst CZ.

Amethyst CZ Stud Earrings

How can you tell if an Amethyst is Real?

If you practise looking at amethyst a fair bit you will soon be able to spot if something is a real amethyst. Most amethysts in jewellers are real – they are inexpensive and abundant gemstones and relatively easy to purchase. A cubic zirconia is much brighter, clearer reflects more light than a genuine amethyst.

A genuine amethyst will have a rich, deep colour. An amethyst geode will never be a uniform colour – it is normally white to purple.

Our View 

In our jewellers, amethyst, the February birthstone, remains one of the most loved and purchased gemstones, and not not just as a birthstone. Being one of the harder gems it makes a perfect everyday piece of jewellery.

People buy it all the year around as it has a lovely colour that suits everyone and is a durable, inexpensive stone. It also looks luxurious – the purple colour is elegant and looks expensive. 

The purple tones of most amethysts looks equally good set in yellow gold or a white gold setting or in silver – again this helps to cover all budgets. It has a nice even colour so suits amethyst necklaces very well. The deep purple colour of this gorgeous stone looks fabulous with CZ or diamonds as accents.

Green amethyst makes a lovely alternative to the purple variety and is becoming noticed a lot more. Many people are drawn to the gems understated elegance.

From simple studs to an elaborate amethyst ring and pendants, there is something for everyone with amethyst gemstone.

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