Amethyst is the official birthstone for February as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Pisces. It is suggested as a gem to give on the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. It is associated with the signs of Pisces, Virgo, Aquarius, and Capricorn.
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and the most valued member of the quartz family. It can display a range of shades including deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve. Top quality amethyst is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes. Its purple color made it a stone of royalty for many thousands of years.
Amethyst can occur as crystals that are six sided on either end. It also forms as drusy which are crystalline crusts covering the host rock. It is found inside geodes and in alluvial deposits all around the world and occurs in both crystalline or massive forms. When manganese is present in clear quartz amethyst is produced, while the amount of iron contained in the specimen accounts for the depth of purple. Most amethyst gemstones on the market today are heat-treated to produce a deeper color and better assure they won't fade over time.
Amethyst is named from an ancient myth. Bacchus, the god of wine, declared in a rage that the first person he passes will be eaten by tigers. This turns out to be a beautiful maiden named Amethyst. The goddess Diana quickly turned her into a white stone to save her from the tigers. Regretting his anger, Bacchus poured red wine over the stone as an offering to Diana, so turning the stone purple. Amethyst has long been associated with relieving hangovers, or curing drunkenness, probably as a result of its wine-like color and the Bacchus tale.
Throughout history, Amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. Used for insomnia, headaches and other pain, and to stabilize mental disorders. A stone of sobriety, it is excellent for meditation. Cuts through illusion. Enhances psychic abilities. Aids channeling abilities. Sedative, protective. Enhances feeling of contentment, and a connection to one's spirituality. Sharpens perception, intuition and wisdom. Worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable.
Chemical Composition: Silicon Dioxide
Mohs-Scale Hardness: 7