Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Amethysts | PCH.com

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Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Amethysts

September 16th, 2011 Jewelry

February's birthstone is the amethyst, but you don't have to be born in the second month of the year to enjoy the history, lore and gorgeous purple hues of this gemstone.

Amethysts are a member of the quartz family. The name comes from the Greek word amethystos, which means "not intoxicating." Interestingly enough, Greek mythology holds a special place for the stone. It was supposedly created by Bacchus, the God of wine. He was very volatile and eventually grew angry at mortals, vowing that tigers would eat the next person he came across. On her way to worship the Goddess Diana, a beautiful girl named Amethyst was about to come across Bacchus. To protect the girl, Diana turned her into a quartz column. Bacchus saw the miraculous transformation and poured wine on the quartz, turning it purple.

This myth helped spur the belief that amethyst could prevent the wearer from getting drunk or poisoned. It was also thought to control evil thoughts and protect soldiers in battle. Additional powers attributed to amethysts include healing, spiritual uplift, courage and happiness. Since kings and queens in the Middle Ages considered purple to be the color of royalty, amethysts were valued by nobility and adorned many crown jewels.

Brazil and Zambia are the two largest sources of amethysts, but they're also found in the U.S., Uruguay, Russia, Sri Lanka and Mexico. Iron levels during formation give the gem its color, which can range from dark to light purple. The most valuable amethysts are deep, medium purple with flashes of pink. Many can be treated with heat to produce a deeper color, which is often the case in today's specimens.

Purple gems look great in any kind of setting and can provide a rich-looking feel to any outfit. If your birthday's in February, snag a statement amethyst piece to add to your luxe wardrobe.