With their mesmerizing violet hue and deep historical significance, it’s impossible not to fall in love with February’s birthstone, the amethyst. Long known as a color to represent royalty, the rich purple gemstone has adorned the necks and fingers of Cleopatra to Catherine the Great, but its mystical origins lie within Greek mythology.

Legend has it that the powerful god Dionysus became angry with a young virgin named Amethyst after he had become drunk with red wine. Amethyst cried to the goddess Diana for help, and Diana turned Amethyst into a white quartz crystal so the intoxicated deity could not harm her. Then Dionysus spilled his wine, and it fell onto the white rock, turning Amethyst into the vivid purple color we know today.

amethyst earrings

Despite its fanciful origins, amethyst has become one of the most popular gemstones in the world. The Bible mentions amethysts in the book of Exodus, and priests and bishops have worn the stones for centuries as purple has traditionally represented the color of Christ. It is also said that Saint Valentine wore a ring carved with the image of a cupid, thus amethyst beaded jewelry has become a popular choice for Valentine’s Day gifts.

amethyst beaded jewelry

Although primarily mined in the South American countries of Brazil and Uruguay, the gem can also be found in Africa, Asia, and North America. The deepest purples are mined from Uruguay, making them the rarest and most expensive variety. Amethysts have become plentiful since the late 1800s and are therefore fairly inexpensive. But after a 1993 discovery of over one ton of amethyst crystals in a cave in Maine, the price fell even further. However, the surplus of the stone doesn’t diminish its violaceous beauty.

Amethysts may not be the most prestigious stone in the gemstone family, but they are certainly one of the most celebrated.  Amethyst gemstones are often used in domestic abuse awareness jewelry because of their shade of purple.

Photo Credits:

  • Amethyst Earrings - SWCreations
  • Amethyst Crystals - 123RF
February 06, 2019 — Leslie Patrick