What a wonderful stone to have as your birthstone! Love the glistening, delicately coloured amethyst. Look at those colours!
This member of the quartz family contains stones that range in colour through pale mauve, violet to rich purple, although scientists disagree about what gives them their colour – some believe it comes from the iron oxide content, whilst others say it’s due to manganese or hydrocarbons. Very sensitive to heat, the colour can change at very high temperatures to brown/yellow, red or even green. Heat may even transform an amethyst into citrine.
It is said that Cleopatra’s signet ring was an amethyst, engraved with the figure of Mithras, a Persian deity who symbolised the source of Light and Life. St Valentine was also said to wear an amethyst, engraved with the figure of Cupid.
“The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care
if they, the amethyst will wear.”
The word “amethyst” comes from the Greek “amethysts”, meaning “not drunk”, and so it was believed to protect the wearer from intoxication (if only!!). The Egyptians believed that the amethyst possessed good powers and they put the stones in the tombs of Pharaohs. During the Middle Ages, it was used to dispel sleep, sharpen intellect and protect the wearer from sorcery. In Arabian mythology, the amethyst was believed to protect the wearer from bad dreams and gout.
So, these days giving an amethyst to a February-born is said to bring them stability, peace, balance, courage, inner strength, sincerity and a calm disposition. Healing properties are said to relate to addiction, headaches, insomnia, arthritis and general healing. I certainly find it a very calming stone – a lovely gift for a friend.
This is a charming story, quoted from “Birthstones” by Willard Heaps:
…. “Bacchus, the god of wine in classical mythology, was offended by Diana the Huntress. Determined on revenge, he declared that the first person he met as he went through the forest would be eaten by his tigers. As it happened, the first person to cross his path was the beautiful maiden Amethyst on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana. In terror, she called upon the goddess to save her, and before his eyes, Bacchus observed the maiden change to a pure white, sparkling image of stone. Realising his guilt and repenting his cruelty, Bacchus poured grape wine over her, thus giving the stone the exquisite violet hue of the amethyst.”
Happy birthday if you’re celebrating this month – and I hope you get at least one beautiful piece of jewellery containing the gentle amethyst!