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Amethyst

Amethyst is the birthstone of February and the astrological star sign for Pisces.

From the Greek word "Amethystos" meaning "not drunken"

The ancient Greeks and Romans thought wearing Amethyst would stop the wearer from being intoxicated by Bacchus also known as Dionysus who was the God of the grape harvest but also associated with madness and ecstasy! Amethyst has also been associated with Royalty during the middle ages in England. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote Amethyst was able to ward off evil thoughts and quicken the mind. Buddhists believe that amethyst enhances the peace and tranquility of meditation, making it the preferred choice for Tibetan rosaries even today. 

Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems. Amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, it was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. Amethyst was, in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and some still wear amethyst rings.

Amethyst compliments both warm and cool colors so it looks right set in both gold and silver metals. This chameleon quality means it compliments lots of color in your wardrobe. Amethyst is found in all shadings of purple, from pale lavender to the deepest violet, the darkest purple being the best quality.

In composition, amethyst is quartz, silica dioxide. The purple colouring comes from manganese and iron in the crystals. It is often found in encrustations on other stones, or inside geodes. Amethyst can vary in transparency from clear to translucent, and generally the more transparent the stone, the more it is valued. It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, making it a relatively hard gemstone. It's durable and great for everyday wear. 

A good quality Amethyst will have a rich purple colour with hues of blue and red in certain lights. Colour is the major deciding factor in the value of amethyst with the deeper shades claiming the most value. Pale amethyst, often called Rose de France, are less expensive but make beautiful jewelry in the right settings and cuts.

Mined mainly in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, and African countries like Zambia and Namibia, small amounts of amethyst are also found in Arizona at the Four Peaks mine near Phoenix.

 

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