February Birthstone Amethyst

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Amethyst is one of the most popular semi-precious gems, said to calm passions and aid in meditation, healing, restful sleep, good dreams, and protect against witchcraft.

The clear purple color of February’s birthstone, amethyst, is said to bring peace, sweet dreams, and to protect against poison and drunkenness. Amethyst is one of the most popular gemstones in jewelry and its beautiful crystal clusters are prized as an accent piece and for meditation and healing.

Purple Amethyst

Amethyst is the most famous variety of quartz, silicon dioxide. The characteristic purple, violet, and mauve hues of the amethyst are thanks to iron and aluminum impurities in the quartz crystal.

Amethyst is found in large crystals that may vary in their intensity of color. It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale and is considered a semi-precious gemstone, although some rare varieties are highly prized and very expensive.

Amethyst in Myth and History

The name amethyst comes from the Greek meaning “not drunk.” The ancient Greeks and Romans made drinking glasses from amethyst that was supposed to prevent intoxication. To the ancient Egyptians, the amethyst was protection against fear, feelings of guilt, poison, and witchcraft.

In Greek myth, the first amethyst was made by the goddess Diana when one of her followers was attacked by the tigers of the god Dionysus and she turned the young woman into a quartz crystal. Recognizing his mistake, Dionysus apologetically poured wine over the crystal, turning it violet.

Amethyst was one of the gemstones named in the Biblical breastplate of High Priest Aaron – the most likely origin of birthstone gems – and was prized by Russian Empress Catherine the Great. Amethyst is sometimes called the “bishop’s stone” because it is still worn in a traditional ring by most Catholic bishops to symbolize piety, humility, and spiritual wisdom.

Magical Significance and Powers of the Amethyst

Like most gemstones, amethysts have been attributed with a long list of healing and magical powers. Amethyst is said to:

  • quiet passions
  • open the psychic centers
  • aid meditation
  • provide deep sleep and clear dreams
  • relieve headache
  • protect crops against pests
  • awaken the mind and spirituality
  • bring good luck in war and hunting
  • protect against snakebite
  • promote friendship, trust, chastity, and humility

Amethyst is the gemstone of the month of February and the astrology sign Pisces, and the traditional gift for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.

Amethyst Gemstone in Décor and Jewelry

Amethyst crystals are prized in jewelry, where they are found in necklaces, pendants, earrings, rings, and bracelets. But the gemstone is also found in décor and large ornaments made of rough or tumbled amethyst are not uncommon.

Palm-sized amethyst clusters are sold as meditation tools and for healing, while medium and large amethyst crystals and geodes are sold as centerpieces, bookends, clocks, vases, and in dozens of other forms and uses.

Amethyst can change color under excessive heat, turning yellow, or in sunlight, which can lighten their violet hue. Amethyst is found in Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, Canada, Germany, Russia, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere around the world.


  • Emily Gems, “Amethyst Gemstone meaning,” Crystal-Cure.com, 2009.
  • International Colored Gemstone Association, “Amethyst,” Gemstone.org, 2009.
  • Ontario Ministry of Northern Development and Mines, “Ontario Amethyst – Ontario’s Mineral Emblem,” MNDM.gov.on.ca, 2008.

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