February birthstone: Amethyst

amethyst daisy earrings amethyst pendant amethyst studs

The birthstone for February is amethyst, a gemstone that Leonardo da Vinci reportedly believed held the power to stimulate the mind, eliminate evil thoughts and elevate business acumen.

We’re not sure whether we believe in this particular piece of trivia, but we do know that we’re not alone in our love for amethyst. Prized for its regal colouring as much as its supposed mystical abilities, cultures all around the world have been making amethyst jewellery in one form or another for thousands of years.

To top it all off, the gemstone has remained very affordable thanks to its widespread availability in just about every shape and size imaginable. Read on for more information on February’s birthstone.

A colour like no other

Although it’s most commonly associated with the colour purple, amethyst actually ranges from a violet-tinged pink all the way through to a deep, reddish byzantium. Regardless of what shade you opt for, it’s fair to say no other gemstone does purple quite like amethyst (with all due respect to the highly coveted, highly priced purple diamond, of course!).

The colour of amethyst is all the more special because, unlike many other gemstones, it complements both warm and cool tones. This means the gemstone looks just as good set in a pair of silver amethyst earrings as it does against the warm yellow of custom-made gold jewellery.

Delving into the history of amethyst

Amethyst jewellery has existed for more than 4,000 years, according to the American Gem Society. In ancient Greece and Rome, it was thought the gem would help the wearer achieve greater clarity of mind and quickened mental faculties, while in some cultures amethyst came to symbolise the divine nature of Christ.

These notions of mysticism perhaps stem from the fact that amethyst was once considered to be exceptionally rare. Indeed, before the discovery of rich amethyst deposits, amethyst was regarded as one of the most precious gemstones in existence. Due to this rarity, the gem was worn almost exclusively by royalty, nobility or members of the clergy, and was priced well beyond the means of the average citizen - something that has thankfully changed since!

In the modern world, most owners of amethyst jewellery appreciate the gem for its unique colouring, relatively low cost point and how great it looks set in both yellow and white metals.