As the king or queen of your heart awaits your arrival, amethyst is a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength. The birthstone for February is the symbol of royalty, love and friendship. Amethyst was also thought to be a protector against jealousy and envy, making it a coveted gemstone for royalty and powerful leaders.
AMETHYST BIRTHSTONE MEANING & HISTORY
The name “amethyst” derives from the Greek word amethystos, which is defined as a remedy against drunkenness. The ancient Greeks associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Amethyst was also believed to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted in battle and business dealings, as well as calming lovers plagued by passion.
AMETHYST BIRTHSTONE CARE & CLEANING
Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that it is appropriate for daily use in rings and other jewelry, but over time it may show wear and require repolishing. Because this February birthstone is more susceptible to damage than harder gems such as rubies, sapphires and diamonds, you risk scratching your amethyst jewelry if you place it next to these harder stones...
Heat treatment is the most common technique for improving the color and marketability of natural amethyst. Heat treatment can’t make pale amethyst darker, but it can lighten the color of very dark amethyst and make it more attractive. It can also remove unwanted brownish inclusions in some amethysts. Some amethyst turns yellow – to citrine – with heat treatment.
Heat treating amethyst results in a permanent change in color. However, submitting it to intense heat may render it slightly more brittle than usual, and care must be taken not to damage pointed faceted corners and sharp edges. Note, too, that excessive heat can remove the color entirely, and some amethyst fades with prolonged exposure to strong light. Though the color is stable with normal use, this is not a birthstone to wear to the beach every day.
Amethyst birthstone jewellery can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner, but steam cleaning is not recommended. A soft brush with mild soap is the safest option.
As you shop for the February birthstone, you’ll also encounter lab-created amethyst. Having the same chemical and physical properties as its natural counterpart, synthetic amethyst has been known since the 1970s. In some cases, it is very difficult to distinguish natural from synthetic amethyst without access to advanced gemological testing. The GIA Laboratory can tell the difference, but many in the jewellery industry do not request testing because of the cost and time required to determine the origin of what is a comparatively inexpensive gem. Still, merchants are required to tell you if a gem is natural or synthetic.