The birth stone of February, Amethyst is extravagance in violet. For many thousands of years, the most striking representative of the quartz family has been greatly coveted. The Greek words ‘amethystos’ mean ‘not intoxicated’ in translation, and the amethyst is worn to protect against drunkenness. But throughout history, the stone has been used for much more than that. It was said to protect crops against tempests and locusts, bring good fortune in war and in the hunt, drive out evil spirits, and inspire the intellect. The amethyst was also said to protect against snakebites, provide comfort against excessive stomach acid, and also served to combat insect bites and beautify the skin. But the amethyst not only had a firm niche in medicine; it was also esteemed as a stone of friendship. And since it was thought to put the wearer in a chaste frame of mind and symbolize trust and piety, the amethyst came to occupy a very prominent position in the ornaments of the Catholic clergy over the centuries. Amethysts are worn due to their sobering and cleansing effect. Rough and fashioned stones are often heat-treated to bring out more intense color, and unless proven otherwise, all stones should be assumed to be heat treated.
Amethyst claims a grade of seven on the Mohs scale for hardness, so it is safe for wear in jewelry, but should be taken off when engaged in rougher activities which could possibly scratch the stone. Along with its many other uses, Amethyst is associated with passion and hope, and this deeply calming stone is believed to settle the spirit and give focus to the wearer.