Happy Birthday, February babes!
Your birthstone is the vibrant purple, Amethyst. The word Amethyst bears origins from ancient Greece, where it was believed that the stone was dyed purple by the tears of Dionysus, the Greek God of Wine & Festivity. The greek derivative word is "amethystos," which means “not drunk” or "sober" in Ancient Greek. The ancient Greeks wore amethyst and drank from cups carved from it, in the belief that it would prevent overindulgence, so cheers! This stone is believed to protect from all types of harm, and to have strong healing and cleansing powers. It is also commonly associated with the third eye or crown chakra.
Many cultures have found, and continue to find today, powerful and spiritual overtones in amethysts. The Ancient Egyptians worked amethysts into amulets as both a form of prayer and protection against harm, and amethyst jewels as old as 3,000 BCE have been uncovered during archaeological digs in Egypt. The Ancient Romans carved intaglios of amethyst with profiles of emperors, animals, or important symbols.
The color purple has historically been associated with royalty and divinity due to its rarity in nature and difficulty to replicate. European royalty greatly coveted amethyst gems for the jewelry, especially coronation pieces. Genius thinker and artist to royals, Leonardo da Vinci, wrote that amethysts enhance intelligence and protect against evil thoughts. On the divine side of things, for those familiar with Old Testament history, amethyst was one of the twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel. Early Christians quickly adopted the stone for its purported ability to calm physical passions and used it in healing practices. Treasured as a stone of celibacy and piety, amethyst also represented allegiance to Christ. It eventually became the choice stone for bishops and members of the clergy.
Technically speaking, Amethyst is the violet variety of crystalline quartz and it occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet color to a deep purple color. Considered to be the most valuable of all quartz varieties, Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue. High-quality amethyst can be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Uruguay, and the far East. With a score of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale (10 being most durable), amethyst is strong enough for daily wear, but take care to protect it from being scratched by rough materials. These gems can also be damaged by some acids and alkaline solutions (so always take off your amethyst ring while using household cleaners).
St. Valentine, the patron of romance and love, wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of cupid. So whether you are born in the month of Amethyst, or want to give a gift this February, the purple stone is a perfect gift for the most romantic month of the year.