February Birthstone – What is February Birthstone (Amethyst)

Ah, February. Despite being the shortest month of the year being only 28 days long (or 29 every four years), there’s a lot to love about it. And by love, of course, I’m referring to Valentine’s Day, a popular occasion for couples and romantic hopefuls alike all over the world.

Despite being most heavily associated with love, though, February’s birthstone has little to do with love at all. Amethyst, which is February’s birthstone, is a lot more complicated than you think, so read on to learn more about this unique gem.

February Birthstone Amethyst

What is an Amethyst?

Amethyst is a variant of a mineral many of you may already be familiar with -quartz. Amethyst is essentially just purple quartz, and its name alone carries some history. The original name, Amethystos, literally meant “not intoxicate.” As the term implies, the stone was believed to prevent the owner from getting drunk. It was coined by ancient Greeks, which is why they unsurprisingly would carve these stones onto their cups and drinking vessels to prevent themselves from getting drunk.

While most common depictions of an amethyst showcase in a deep purple color, many amethysts are paler and lighter than you think. This is especially true for raw amethyst crystals that haven’t been refined yet.

Speaking of crystals, did you know that you can artificially create Amethyst? Known as synthetic Amethyst, these man-made crystals are made using special gamma rays or X-rays. If you’re worried about buying a synthetic amethyst, though, don’t worry, professionals can distinguish natural quartz from laboratory-grown quartz.

Amethyst is most commonly found in Brazil, particularly in the Rio Grande do Sul. It is also found in mines in South Korea and Russia. As it isn’t as rare as, say, diamonds, amethysts are relatively cheaper to purchase and are valued less as a result.

One important thing to note about amethysts is that they can lose their color if they are overexposed to light. On the other hand, it can also darken in color using artificial irradiation, as mentioned earlier. Because of this, it isn’t recommended that you put amethysts out in the daylight 24/7 unless you want the color to fade.

What does Amethyst Signify?

As amethysts are among the most common types of gemstones, many cultures and civilizations have provided their own meaning to them. For example, ancient Egyptians were used as a form of antiquity. In Europe, soldiers would wear amethysts as some sort of battle charm. They believed that the gem would keep them level-headed in the middle of a battle and even provide healing properties. In Tibet and Buddhism, amethysts were considered sacred. Monks would use the gem and make prayer beads out of them.

The gem was considered to be so precious that it was even classified as one of the Cardinal gems. The Cardinal gems were believed to be more precious than any other stone, with the other four being sapphire, ruby, emerald, and diamond. However, the Amethyst lost its value considerably when a large deposit was discovered in Brazil.

We mentioned Greeks earlier as being behind the term “amethyst,” but there’s more to it than just being an anti-drunkenness charm. The story goes that the god Dionysus was so enraged by a human that he swore to kill the next human he met with tigers. The unfortunate person ended up being a beautiful woman who was on her way to worship Artemis. Artemis noticed this and spared the woman, saving her life and turning her into the purple gem we know of today. Her name is Amethystos. This still fits the “anti-drunkenness” meaning behind the word, though in a different context.

Today, the Amethyst is used to signify not love but peace and loyalty. It promotes calmness and a state of order.


Humans have considered the Amethyst to be one of the most precious stones out there for hundreds of years. While it has become a lot more common, many have still loved the gem for its unique purple color and symbolism of peace. So whether you’re looking to handle a few more drinks for the night or want to find peace in your life, the Amethyst is there for you.