February is Amethyst

February's Birthstone

Amethyst is a rich purple gemstone that has intensity and vibrance which makes it ideal to use for jewelry and decorating. Coloured by iron, Amethyst is a variety of crystalline Quartz that occurs in a transparent light lavender, lilac to a deep purple state. It is these deeper more intense colours that generally are considered the most precious. Amethyst is the same mineral and composition as Citrine, the difference being the oxidation state of the iron impurities present in the quartz. Upon heating, the iron impurities are reduced and Amethysts purple colour fades and becomes yellow to reddish-orange Citrine. Amethyst is the anniversary gemstone for the 6th year of marriage. Commonly known as the February birthstone, Amethyst is linked to and Aquarians and Pisceans.


Amethyst has a 4500 year history, documented in early Greece, circa 2,500 B.C. Amethyst is said to bring serenity and calm, to enhance one's ability to assimilate new ideas, and to assist during meditation. It is also said to give strength and mental stability, and to provide balance between one's physical, emotional, intellectual states. Amethyst is also said to make one shrewd in business matters. Amethyst is said to help remove toxins from the body and to help treat arthritis. It also said to be useful in treating a number of disorders including those of the digestive system, heart, nervous system, skin and hearing and to help provide relief from pain and to strengthen the immune system. In medieval times, Amethyst was still credited with protecting one from the effects of drunkenness, both of the cup and also from the intoxicating effects of being in love. The wearing of amethyst was also known to protect soldiers from harm and give them victory over their enemies, and assist hunters with the capture of wild animals.


The purple color of Amethyst is due to small amounts of iron impurities at specific sites in the crystal structure of quartz. The difference between Amethyst and Citrine is only the oxidation state of the iron impurities present in the quartz. Upon heating, the iron impurities are reduced, and Amethysts purple color fades and becomes yellow to reddish-orange. The Amethyst color usually can be regained by irradiation which re-oxidizes the iron impurities. This irradiation can be done by synthetic means, or it can occur in nature by radioactive decay of nearby radioactive minerals. In most cases this is a reversible process, however excessive heating may change the distribution of the iron impurities at the different sites within the quartz making it impossible to convert it back to Amethyst by subsequent irradiation. The heating process can occur naturally or synthetically. At the present, it is not possible to determine whether or not an Amethyst or Citrine was synthetically irradiated or heated.. On the Mohs scale, Amethyst is rated at a 7 for hardness. (The Mohs scale of mineral hardness was devised by German mineralogist Frederich Mohs in 1812. He selected ten minerals because they were common or readily available and rated them. The scale is not linear, but arbitrary.)


The best way to clean Amethyst jewels is with soapy water. Steam cleaners will work great with these gemstones, as will ultrasonic cleaners.

Good to know

In Tibet, the Amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.