Love is in the air this month with Valentines day quickly and surely approaching. We’re also celebrating another birthday at Rogue (Hi Gemma!). And what better way to show off your birth month than with the February birthstone: Amethyst! (Possibly the studio’s favourite genuine gemstone).
Following on from January and Garnet, February is one of the few months that only has one birthstone, rather than two or three. For the months that are lucky enough to have more than a singular birthstone, these are separated into two lists: Modern and Traditional. The more common of the two is the modern birthstones, which were defined in 1912 by the Jewelers of America in an attempt to standardise (and commercialise) birthstones. This was further updated in the 1950s, to include gemstones such as Citrine for November, or Alexandrite for June. Modern stones are based on what’s easier to sell in large quantities (making it the more affordable choice). So what about the February birthstone?
With a great contrast to the colder and short lived month of February, the February birthstone Amethyst is a gorgeous and rich-coloured gemstone that should be enjoyed for an eternity. Being a purple variety of Quartz, it comes in all sorts of hues including lilac to deep purples. For Amethyst to get its colour, the quartz needs to have trace amounts of iron. This iron has tiny impurities which are then exposed to natural radiation (irradiation) which results in oxidation of the impurities. This process changes the absorption spectrum of the Quartz, resulting in the beautiful purple shades we see.
Russia was the main source of Amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits were found in Brazil. Originally being super rare, this new found discovery led amethyst to suddenly become quite common . Today, the most important sources of amethyst are in Africa and South America however Brazil is still a major supplier, especially in Rio Grande do Sul, although the amethyst mined there tends to have a lighter colour than most found in other countries. .
In Africa, Zambia’s Kariba mine is one of the largest amethyst producers in the world. The Amethyst that is mined here typically tends to have excellent quality with richly saturated colours. There is also the ‘Four Peaks Amethyst Mine’ located just outside of Phoenix is the United States. This mine is is in a remote location, with extremely challenging conditions for Amethyst to form, yet somehow forms some of the deepest purple, and purplish red crystals.
This purple stone also has a great history behind it, often being found in collections of royal families across Europe and Asia. Because of the original rarity of Amethyst, it was held as high as a diamond, and was incredibly favoured royalty, or the Clergy as a symbol for the deity of Christ. It wasn’t until the discovery in Brazil that made Amethyst more available to a wide range of wearers.
Amethyst lore is just as great as its history. The lore includes many claims of bringing personal empowerment or inner strength if worn, as well as it’s claims to mystical powers. Leonardi Da Vinci once wrote that this stone has the power to protect against evil thoughts and quicken intelligence. Apparently he was well known for making use of this stone. Throughout time Amethyst has been ground down and ingested for medicine, or been used to make drinking goblets due to the reports of preventing intoxication. Although Amethyst is not toxic, it is no longer recommended to ingest through eating or drinking. So please do not try this at home!
In the modern day, Amethyst is the stone that is traditionally given to celebrate the 6th year of a marriage!
This purple quartz scored a 7 on the Moh’s scale of hardness, making it appropriate for daily wear in jewellery, although over time may show wear and need a repolish. As it is more susceptible to damage than harder stones (such as rubies and diamonds), it should be stored away safely from anything harder to avoid it being scratched or damaged. As always, the safest way to clean this stone is with a soft toothbrush and some mild soap, but it is also safe in an ultrasonic. However, steam cleaning should be avoided. This is because extreme treat (or some heat treatments) can change the shades of purple , or make it more brittle.
We stock jewellery from brands from across the world, and can source items in all birthstones imaginable! If you would like to treat yourself to some meaningful pieces, just get in contact with us.
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