Amethyst, the February birthstone, is a beautiful quartz gemstone with sparkling violet or purple colour. Read on to learn why you should wear amethyst jewellery while drinking wine — and why it’s the best gift to give someone on Valentine’s Day.
Why do amethysts symbolise love?
Many of us celebrate Valentine’s Day, but do you know who Saint Valentine really was? According to ancient Roman legend, Santo Valentino was a wise old priest who dedicated his life to travelling around the Roman Empire and carrying out wedding ceremonies. Often, young couples who were in love would seek him out and ask him to bless them in marriage.
Apparently, Saint Valentine was also known for wearing a large amethyst signet ring with an image of Cupid engraved on it. Because his official Saint’s Day is 14th February, this is how Valentine’s Day became the tradition we know today. It is also why amethyst became the symbolic gemstone for Valentine’s Day.
A gemstone that keeps you sober
The ancient Greeks believed amethysts could stop you from getting drunk. They carved drinking cups out of amethyst, thinking the crystals lessened the effects of wine. In fact, the word amethyst comes from the Greek word amethystos meaning ‘not intoxicated’. So amethysts could help you attract love – and keep your head clear on a hot date! At least that’s what the Greeks believed…
Amethyst legend and lore
If you were born in February, the amethyst is a gem that holds special meaning for you as the birthstone of the month. Alternatively, it is also the gemstone of the Capricorn star sign. In Asia, legend says that wearing amethysts can make you more spiritual. It is a gem that’s also supposed to give you courage and strength, and promote peace. A thousand years ago in Medieval Europe, sailors believed amethyst amulets could protect them from storms.
What is amethyst?
Amethyst is a precious quartz mineral gem. It’s usually purple or violet in colour. Amethyst ranks 7 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, making it robust and lasting enough to wear in jewellery. It’s a very translucent and beautiful gemstone with plenty of sparkle, so jewellery designers regard it as the ideal gemstone for creating beautiful statement jewellery. The largest and purest-quality amethyst crystals come from mines in the Minas Gerais state of Brazil.
Famous amethyst jewellery
Throughout history, royals have regarded amethyst as the most highly prized quartz gem. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II owns an amethyst collection called the Kent Demi-Parure. She is most often seen wearing the brooch that belongs to it.
The Queen of Sweden owns an amethyst tiara, part of a complete amethyst set called the Napoleonic Amethyst Parure. It originally belonged to Empress Josephine. Modern stars like Katy Perry, Courteney Cox, Sarah Jessica Parker, Diane Kruger and Sofia Vergara have all been spotted wearing amethyst jewellery to award ceremonies and red-carpet events.
Amethyst buying advice
Our gem expert recommends assessing amethysts in the same way as diamonds – by clarity, colour, cut and carat weight. High-quality amethysts won’t appear to have any marks when looked at with the naked eye. An amethyst’s colour should be transparent and vibrant. Always buy yours from a reputable jeweller to ensure their authenticity and ethical origin. Visit our amethyst gem guide for more information.
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Perfect gifts for February