Amethyst: The History and Meaning of February’s Birth Stone

Updated: Apr 21, 2020



Facts & History



The birthstone for the month of February, and the official gem for Wednesday, Jupiter and those born under the sign of Pisces, Amethyst is the name given to purple Quartz and its name is thought to have derived from the Greek word ‘Amethustos’, ‘a’ meaning ‘not’ and ‘methustos’ meaning ‘to intoxicate’. Many years ago, wealthy lords were said to pour water into amethyst goblets while their guests drank wine. The purple colour of the amethyst disguising the colour of the drink so the wealthy lords could look like they were drinking while still remaining sober. In ancient times it was also believed that you could save someone intoxicated from delirium if you mixed crushed amethyst into their drink.Greek mythology tells a story of Dionysus, the god of intoxication, and a young beautiful maiden, named Amethystos, who refused his advances. While Amethystos was on her way to pray to the goddess Diana, Dionysus released a pack of ferocious tigers but before they could get to her, Diana turned Amethystos into a clear quartz statue to protect her. Distraught at what he had almost done to Amethystos, Dionysus wept tears of wine turning the clear quartz purple and creating Amethyst.Amethyst’s use in jewellery can be traced back as far as the Neolithic period (approximately 4,000 BC) and samples of it set into gold rings have been uncovered in burial sites from around 2,400 BC. In the Old Testament, amethyst was one of the twelve stones representing the twelve tribes of Israel and also one of the twelve gemstones adorning the breastplate of the high priest Aaron It’s been set into rings and worn by Bishops and Priests since the Middle Ages and highly prized by royalty with several pieces featured within the British Crown Jewels. Amethyst was also known as a personal favourite of Catherine the Great.A crystal with intense energy, Leonardo da Vinci believed amethyst had the power to control evil thoughts and to enhance intelligence while the Hebrews named amethyst “ahlamah,” which means