Celebrating the amethyst, February’s royal purple birthstone

From pastel lilac to deep royal purple, February’s birthstone, the amethyst, has been an adored—and respected—gemstone for centuries. It’s found in royal scepters, crowns, and as good-luck amulets throughout history. In fact, the stone was as precious as a ruby or emerald until the 1800s, when large amethyst deposits were discovered in Brazil.

Some interesting amethyst facts and fables

  • Early Greeks believed that wearing amethyst would keep you from becoming drunk. In Feng Shui, having amethyst crystals in the “wealth corner” of your home is believed to increase prosperity.
  • Forget roses; St. Valentine wore an amethyst ring with a carved image of Cupid. Amethyst engagement rings are gaining in popularity as a sign of eternal love.
  • Healers believe that the amethyst reduces stress and anxiety, so people often meditate with the stone.
  • Amethyst crystals can be large—over 100 pounds.
  • “Oriental amethyst” is actually a form of purple sapphire.

Tips for buying your amethyst jewelry

Unlike diamonds or other gemstones, amethysts are more valuable not due to carat weight, but by color. Deep colors are more desirable (be sure to look at the stone in daylight rather than just artificial lighting). While stones can have shades of tone in them, look for one with a generally consistent hue. Also, make sure there aren’t any inclusions…the stone should be clear. Cut is important; it can give the amethyst added sparkle and glitter.

Care and handling

Amethysts rate a 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, which makes them durable. However, be careful around harsh abrasives, which can damage the stone. As with most gemstones, mild detergent and a soft cloth can do the trick. Exposure to intense heat or light can cause the stone to fade, so leave the ring at home when you’re at the beach or on a boat.

While February may be a short month, there’s nothing short about the beauty and warmth of the amethyst. Enjoy this glorious purple semi-precious gem. And be sure to protect your jewelry with good insurance—and that begins with a professional appraisal. Contact me at (617) 304-0174 or at aimee@ambappraisal.com.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

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