The Meaning Behind The February Amethyst Birthstone

From zodiac signs to where the sun and moon were positioned when you entered the world, the month you were born can tell you a lot about your personality. Centuries of belief in astrology and spiritual connotations have intrigued humans in learning about the things that contributed to them being born, and what those factors can say about what it means to be human (via the University of Utah). And while it may not seem like it, birthstones are an integral part of this equation.

According to Reiner's Fine Jewelry, birthstones are believed to have originated from the Bible — specifically the book of Exodus. A high priest called Aaron wore a symbolic breastplate that featured 12 stones that corresponded with the zodiac, which were believed to be "chipped off the throne of God." These included gems like diamonds, emeralds, rubies, and sapphires, which are now some of the most expensive crystals to own. But back in the day, amethyst, the February birthstone, was considered on par with these gems.

Amethyst was worn as a sign of royalty

Amethyst is a purple quartz used in jewelry and crystal healing for thousands of years (via Deposits of the gem are found in abundance in South America and Africa. They can either be cut as a faceted stone to be used in jewelry like rings, earrings and pendants or kept in their natural form to be used as healing crystals or as stunning pieces of home decor.

Described by Pure Wow as "the most regal of birthstones," amethyst was once only worn by royalty. According to Brilliant Earth, this regal connotation was due to how expensive purple dye was to source and make (via Live Science). Therefore, only those with an excessive amount of money, i.e., royalty, were seen in the color. Those who could afford the dye would often match their clothes with the gemstone, leading to amethyst being considered as important as diamonds for a time (via the American Gem Society).

The February birthstone has a strong connection to Greek mythology

The name of the February birthstone comes from the Greek word "amethystos," meaning "a remedy against drunkenness." The Greeks associated the color of amethyst with the Greek god Dionysus, also known as Bacchus, the god of wine and ecstasy (via Britannica). He was the son of Zeus, the king of the Greek gods, and Semele, the daughter of Harmonia, the goddess of harmony and concord (via Greek Mythology). Aside from aiding hangovers, amethyst is also believed to have the power to keep a clear mind in addition to calming those "overrun by passion," according to the Gemological Institute of America.

Amethyst is also a gem given on the sixth wedding anniversary, as the Roman patron saint of love, St Valentine, supposedly had a carving of Cupid in the stone, which he wore as a ring (via Diamond Rocks). So not only does the birthstone for February have connotations of wine and ecstasy, but also love. Brilliant Earth notes that the gemstone is also associated with peace, balance, and courage. For some, it's also believed to "cure insomnia and relieve pain." It's thought that Renaissance artist Leonardo Di Vinci used the gem to maintain "a balanced mind," to "remove poisons from the body," and to keep "evil thoughts" at bay (via HealthyLine).