February Gem of the Month – Amethyst – the gem given for luck and protection
The February born shall find, sincerity and peace of mind, freedom from passion and from care, If they, the amethyst will wear. Unknown Author
February – the month of love – has the deep vibrant amethyst as its birthstone. The word “Amethyst” is derived from the Greek word “amethystos” which means “remedy against drunkenness.” The Amethyst is a semi-precious stone in varying shades of purple which belongs to the quartz family and owes its colour to oxide of manganese and iron which forms part of its composition. However for the February birthstone, deep violet is the only desirable colour variety. The best varieties of Amethysts come from Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, and the Far East. It is one the more affordable gemstones, adding to its popularity.
The amethyst holds a long rich history of both lore and legend. It can be traced back as far as 25,000 years ago in France, where it was used as a decorative stone by prehistoric humans. It has also been found among the remains of Neolithic man. Legend says that it got its beautiful colour from a nymph who invoked the aid of the Goddess Diana to protect her from the attentions of the god Bacchus. Diana promptly changed the nymph into a pure white, sparkling image of stone. Realizing his cruelty, Bacchus poured grape wine over her, thus giving the stone the exquisite violet hue of the amethyst. During the Middle Ages, it was used as medication, believed to dispel sleep, sharpen intellect, and protect the wearer from sorcery. It was also believed to bring victory in battle. In Arabian mythology, the amethyst was supposed to protect the wearer from bad dreams and gout.
The hardness of garnet on the Mohs’ scale is 7, which explains why this stunning gemstone is so excellent to work into jewellery, especially when it is teamed with silver – which is very on trend this year.
Bloodstone is the alternative birthstone for February.
Rose Quartz is another affordable birthstone for January. This cloudy pink gemstone was believed by ancient Greeks to have been coloured from cloudy white to pink by the spilling of Aphrodite’s blood. Rose quartz has been used in jewellery in Europe since antiquity, Romans used to give this cloudy pink gemstone as a symbol of love and friendship. However this gemstone has recently seen a huge resurgence in popularity for use in jewellery in particular affordable modern silver jewellery.