amethyst gemstone february birthstone

Amethyst gemstones have captivated humankind for centuries. The lilac-to-deep purple hues were once reserved for royalty or religious figures who wore it as a symbol of their important stature in society. Its lore comprises several claims to mystical powers, including that it would convey strength and wit to those who wore it. Amethyst was also associated with Bacchus, the ancient Greek god of wine, and wearing it was thought to keep the drinker sober.

Amethyst comes from many places around the world and is a gemstone everyone can enjoy. It is the February birthstone, but those born in other months also take pleasure from its charm and beauty.


Amethyst Facts

  • Amethyst belongs to the quartz species and is related to rock crystal, citrine, prasiolite (a rare, greenish variety of quartz) and agate (a variety of chalcedony).
  • Russia was a classic source for amethyst. Current sources include Brazil, Bolivia, South Africa, South Korea, the United States, Uruguay and Zambia.
  • Amethyst is a fairly durable gemstone with a hardness of 7.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale.
  • Amethyst gemstones can be cut into many shapes and sizes, often as cabochons or beads, and is also carved for ornamental use.
  • Nature produces a variety known as ametrine, a combination of amethyst and citrine. This gem is purple and yellow and is frequently cut to show its division of color or in a way that mixes the colors, forming interesting medium dark to moderately strong orange, and vivid to strong purple or violet hues.

Amethyst Treatment

  • On some occasions amethyst is heat-treated to lighten overly dark gems. Any treatments should be disclosed to the buyer.

Synthetic Amethyst           

  • Amethyst can also be man-made, meaning it is manufactured in a lab rather than mined, and this fact should be understood by the seller and clearly disclosed to the buyer.

Amethyst Care & Cleaning

  • To minimize scratching and wear, store each piece of fine jewelry separately in a soft cloth or padded container.
  • Though rare amethyst may fade, avoid prolonged exposure to bright light.
  • Amethyst jewelry is best cleaned with warm, sudsy water and a tightly woven microfiber or other soft cloth.
  • Take all your fine jewelry to a professional jeweler at least twice a year for a thorough cleaning and inspection.
  • See our full guide to jewelry care and cleaning.

Content © GIA. Image © Robert Weldon/GIA

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