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  • Writer's pictureAntiques in Oxford

February Birthstone: Amethyst

Updated: Jul 13, 2022

Amethyst is the February Birthstone, and the history behind the stone is hugely fascinating.

Amethyst takes its name from the ancient Greek word ‘amethustos’ meaning ‘sober.’

Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz family and is one of the most popular gemstones for use in jewellery due to its depth of colour. Amethyst can be found in various locations across the world including Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico and Sri Lanka.

In Greek mythology amethyst was said to have been created from a rock crystal dyed purple by the tears and red wine of Dionysus, the god of wine. Ancient Greeks had cups and goblets carved from amethyst to prevent the holder from drunkenness and intoxication. It was believed that Saint Valentine wore a ring set with an antique amethyst carved with an image of Cupid.

From the Middle Ages amethyst was prized by royalty and was used to decorate English regalia, including the Sovereigns Orb and Sceptre and St Edwards Crown.

Traditionally gifted on a 6th wedding anniversary, to bring good health and fortune.

The largest amethyst geode in the world is the ‘Empress of Uruguay’ which stands at 3.27 metres tall and weighs 2.5 tonnes.

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