If gazing into the sparkling purple depths of Amethyst leaves you with a sense of powerful well-being, it is to be expected. The ancient Greeks believed that this stone held many powers, among them protection against intoxication. In fact, the word "Amethyst" comes from the Greek word, "amethystos", meaning sober. In ancient Greece, the gemstone was associated with the god of wine and it was common practice to serve the beverage in Amethyst goblets in the belief that this would prevent overindulgence.
February's birthstone has been found among royalty throughout the ages. The intense violet hue of amethyst appeals to monarchs, perhaps because they often wore this color. Purple dye was scares and expensive at one time and so it was reserved for the garments of kings and queens. Amethyst has been found in ruins dating back as far back as the 9th century, adorning crowns, scepters, jewelry and breast plates worn into battle. A large Amethyst is amongst the closely guarded gemstones in the British Crown Jewels.
Amethyst is also a symbol of spirituality and piety. It has been used to ornament churches and crosses used in religious ceremony, and worn in rings and rosaries by bishops and priests.
Amethyst occur as geodes, as a crust over the host rock (druzy), or as six-sided crystals. But they must be purple. Though they can be found almost world-wide, the finest amethysts have traditionally be found in Russia. Today, Brazil and Zambia are primary sources for this rich, royal gem, followed by Western India, Uruguay, Madagascar, USA, Soviet Union, Australia, South Africa, Southwestern Sri Lanka, South America and Africa.
The pale lilac colors of Amethyst have been romantically coined Rose De France, or Pink Amethyst. This gem's lovely pale, lilac pink color is so subtle: it's a delicate blush that for many, is the essence of femininity.
A more recent arrival on the gemstone scene, Prasiolite, or as it is also known, Green Amethyst, is a real attention getter. Starting its life as a purple amethyst, the gem is basked in heat until it turns a delicate shade of icy green. Green amethyst looks great in either white or yellow gold, as a ring, earrings or pendant. It also goes well with other lighter colored stones like lemon quartz and aquamarine.
The gift of Amethyst is symbolic of protection and power to overcome difficulty. it is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship, so it is an ideal anniversary or engagement gem. Whether or not Amethyst holds such power, it's stunning beauty will certainly make anyone feel like royalty.