Amethyst, the February Birthstone: A Gem to Love All Year Long

Victorian Sunset Brooch
Victorian Sunset Brooch
Photo Courtesy of KCB Natural Pearls via GIA.edu

Once upon a time, amethyst ranked in value with “The Big Three” gemstones — ruby, sapphire and emerald — until a large deposit was found in Brazil in the 1800s. While no longer considered rare, fine amethyst is an immensely popular gem among jewelry designers and collectors. Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz mineral species, and the gem that is most commonly associated with the color purple (even though sapphire and tanzanite can be purple too). According to history and legend, amethyst is most closely associated with power and royalty; it has been used in religious jewelry and royal crown jewels throughout the ages. If you’re lucky enough to have been born in February (or even if you were not), start exercising a little “purple power,” and consider buying yourself or someone you love a beautiful piece of amethyst jewelry this month.

The Sovereign's Orb
The Sovereign’s Orb
Photo Courtesy of RoyalExhibitions.co.uk

Purple Reigns

Because of its purplish wine-like color Greek legends associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Many ancients believed that amethyst kept its wearer clearheaded, sober and quick-witted in battle. Popes and bishops through the years have worn the purple amethyst, as have kings and queens with their “royal purple” vestments. One of the world’s great amethysts can be found in the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London. The Sovereign’s Orb, featuring a large octagonal amethyst, was made for the Coronation of Charles II in 1661.

Color Me Purple

Alexandra Mor Emerald Cut Amethyst & Diamond Ring
Alexandra Mor Emerald Cut
Amethyst & Diamond Ring

Although some may think that an amethyst from Siberia or Zambia might have a better color than an amethyst from Brazil, origin alone does not add value to amethyst. Value is based on quality, and color is the most important quality factor. Amethyst can range from a pale lilac to a deep, intense royal purple…from cool or bluish tones to a reddish-purple that is sometimes called “raspberry.” When  you consider that “Radiant Orchid” was recently named Color of the Year for 2014 by the prestigious Pantone Color Institute, there has never been a better time to add the power of purple — and amethyst — to your jewelry wardrobe.

Happy Birthday to all you February-born OBJ fans!

Click here to learn how to clean your amethyst jewelry.

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