The February birthstone is the purple amethyst. The amethyst gets its name from the ancient Greek word for sober: amethystos.
The Greeks used to serve wine from amethyst cups to prevent people from getting too drunk.
Amethyst is believed to protect against drunkenness, snakebite and even seduction. It has also been used to stimulate intelligence and to get rid of malevolent spirits.
It could also reduce acidity in the stomach, to make the skin more beautiful and heal insect bites. In agricultural societies it was used to protect the crops against pests.
It is also used in modern gemstone therapy for cleansing and it is believed to have a sobering effect.
Amethyst jewelry is a symbol of friendship and trust. And a good wedding present or wedding anniversary present. It has also been associated with piety and chastity. Therefore amethyst jewelry was commonly used by medieval Catholic bishops and cardinals.
Amethyst Gemstone Facts
Amethyst belongs to the quartz family and it comes in a range of shades of purple. Amethysts are mined around the world and are widely available. Which makes them very affordable. Amethysts that are mined in different parts of the world can have a different intensity of color. As well as variations in the shape of the crystals, and differences in their forms.
Amethyst is a reasonably hard gemstone and rates 7 on the international Mohs scale of gemstone hardness (the hardest are diamonds at 10 on the scale). It has a unique crystal structure, which creates a lot of variation in its color. Amethysts are available in a wide variety of purples. Even in one stone the color is not necessary even.
Heat treatment can change the stone’s color, and it only needs to be heated relatively little to achieve color change. An amethyst birthstone can also lose some of its color under bright sunlight. Like most other colored gemstones, amethysts dislike direct sunlight or quick and drastic temperature changes.
February Birthstone Alternatives
If you would rather wear another gemstone than amethyst, but still like the birthstone system, you can try one of these alternatives.
The traditional birthstones for February besides the amethyst are the zircon and pearl. Zircons are quite affordable and can be gotten in a range of colors, like red, orange, blue, yellow and almost any hue in between.
With the advent of cultivation, pearls have become a reasonably priced alternative as well, usually selling for between $5-20 per pearl.
If you are only interested in natural ‘wild’ pearls however you will need to bring your wallet as those are still extremely expensive. Most are sold in the range of several hundreds of dollars per pearl and prices sharply increase for anything out of the ordinary.
Suggestions for Amethyst Gifts
As the birthstone for February an amethyst birthstone ring, pendant or pair of earrings is the perfect gift for anyone born in that month. The Zodiac sign Pisces has amethyst as the birthstone. So amethyst jewelry can also be a good gift for those born under the Pisces sign as well.
The amethyst is also a traditional gift for the 17th wedding anniversary. Due of its violet color, the amethyst looks especially good in silver jewelry.