With Valentine’s Day falling in the middle of this month, February is traditionally celebrated as the month of love. And, with rich, velvety purple hues, amethyst is the perfect birthstone for February.
Purple is considered the most regal of colours and so, over time, amethyst has appeared frequently in royal and religious jewellery. Indeed, the current Anglican Bishop of Johannesburg, Steve Moreo, wears an amethyst ring. In ancient Greece, it was believed that wearing an amethyst would protect you from drunkenness and Buddhists believe that amethyst enhances meditation.
Amethyst is the purple gem variety of quartz, one of the world’s most common minerals, and it’s the variation in the deep purple colours that make it a sought-after semi-precious gemstone. Often occurring with excellent clarity and very few natural imperfections, look for the best intensity of purple you can find when purchasing an amethyst.
Natural crystal impurities of iron and trace elements, in combination with irradiation, lead to the purple colour of amethyst. Quartz, and thus amethyst, has a hardness of 7 out of 10 on Moh’s hardness scale, so it’s gemstone that’s relatively resistant to daily wear and tear.
Some of the largest amethyst geodes in the world have been discovered in Uruguay, South America. A 120 million year ode geode, weighing over 20,000 kg, is believed to be the world’s largest amethyst geode and is currently on display in Australia’s Crystal Castlein New South Wales.