Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February Birthstone Fun Facts

The birthstone for February is Amethyst, and it is also the zodiac stone for the constellation of Pisces. Throughout history Amethyst has been associated with spirituality, wisdom, sobriety, and security.

The name "amethyst" comes from the Greek and means "not drunken." According to legend, amethyst originated when Bacchus, the God of Wine, grew angry at mortals. He vowed the next mortal that crossed his path would be eaten by tigers. At that time, a beautiful young maiden named Amethyst was on her way to worship the Goddess Diana. Diana, knowing of Bacchus vow, turned Amethyst into a pillar of colorless quartz to protect her from the tigers. Bacchus, witnessing the miracle, repented and poured wine over Amethyst, staining her purple.

This legend and the connection to Bacchus led to the belief that drinking wine from a cup made of amethyst would prevent drunkenness, and later, that wearing amethyst would also prevent the wearer from becoming drunk or being poisoned. Amethyst is also considered as an aid to the brave because it was believed to protect soldiers in battle.

Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz and is a popular gemstone. Amethyst does not come in any other variety of colors like many gemstones do, but it does come in several different shades of purple. The darker colored stones are typically more valuable and expensive, but due to the stone’s widespread availability, amethyst is a relatively inexpensive gemstone.

However, amethyst is not the same everywhere. Different localities can produce a unique amethyst to that particular region or even to that particular mine. Experts can often identify the source mine that a particular amethyst came from. The key to this is the specimen's color, shape of crystal, inclusions, associations and

character of formation. The stone is most commonly mined in Brazil, Mexico, Africa, and some parts of the United States.

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