I can’t believe it but January is over and already we are half way through February! Like most other years this one is flying by. This blog is one of a series providing info about the different birthstones for each month of the year. The birthstone for February is the beautiful gemstone amethyst. My apologies to all those February babies out there for the lateness of this blog! We have been very busy making wedding rings, and there just never seems to be enough hours in the day… so many of our clients get married over these summer months. It is a very busy time of year for us. Of course wedding rings (unlike blogs) are something we simply can’t be late with!
So what is amethyst? Aside from being the birthstone for February, it is a purple variety of the mineral quartz. The purple colouring comes from iron or manganese impurities within the crystal. This colour varies in its depth from a light lilac to a very dark purple. The colour can be a bluish purple or sometimes a reddish purple. It is common for amethysts to have zones of light and dark colour. Amethysts are often heat treated when used in jewellery to darken the colour, as this is seen as more attractive than the lighter colours.
Amethyst is quite plentiful, but used to be rare and expensive right up until the 19th century. Then huge deposits of the quartz were discovered in Brazil, which brought the price down considerably. Despite this, synthetic quartz was created as it has practical uses in industry. It produces electrical current when put under pressure. This has technical applications in the workings of watches and communications equipment, amongst other things. So the birthstone for February is not just a thing of beauty! It has practical applications too. Treated amethyst also finds its way into some jewellery.
The Birthstone for February has Considerable Powers, Some Believe
The word “amethyst” comes from the ancient Greek “amethystos” and means “not drunk”. It is believed by some to help prevent drunkenness and addictions to drugs and smoking. It is known as the “sobriety stone”. Amythyst is said to have healing powers and promote well being, calmness, peace and happiness.
So Do We Use Amethyst in the Jewellery We Make?
Despite its beauty, amethyst is not a stone that we generally work with. This is because we specialise in making engagement rings and wedding rings. Sadly, amethyst is not the best gemstone to endure the everyday wear and tear that an engagement ring or wedding ring is subjected to. Amethyst is assessed as being 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, and is quite brittle. Having said this, many other jewellers will use amethyst in costume jewellery to great effect. It is a beautiful gemstone.