February Birthstone: Amethyst

February Birthstone

Amethyst (derived from Greek as "not drunken") is purple quartz.

Amethyst, the birthstone for February, is also the traditional gift for the sixth and seventeenth anniversaries. Amethyst is the most highly prized stone of the quartz family. It has been set in many crown jewels and religious artifacts and was considered with the same status as emeralds, rubies, sapphires and diamonds for centuries. In the nineteenth century huge deposits were discovered in Brazil and all of a sudden, what once was very rare became abundant and plentiful.

Amethyst is formed in clear quartz by introducing manganese and iron into the lattice structure. Depending on the iron content the amethyst may range from pale red violet to deep violet.

Amethyst has a Mohs hardness of 7. They are heat treated to reduce the brown if present or lighten the color of very dark amethyst. If overheated can change to citrine or prasiolite. There is much synthetic Amethyst in the market which should be disclosed before purchasing a stone. Whether pale red violet to deep violet, Amethyst is a stone to marvel at when you get red, blue, and purple flashes from it.