If you were born in February, your birthstone is amethyst—the purple variety of quartz. Its lilac to deep purple hues can be cut into many shapes and sizes, and it can be manufactured in a lab as well as mined.
The name “amethyst” derives from the Greek amethystos, which means “a remedy against drunkenness,” a benefit long ascribed to the purple birthstone. Because of its wine-like color, early Greek mythology associated the gem with Bacchus, the god of wine. Amethyst was also believed to keep the wearer clear headed and quick witted in battle and business affairs. Amethyst lore includes several claims to mystical powers, including that it would convey strength and wit to those who wore it.
If you celebrate a February birthday, wearing an amethyst can be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength. Also, amethyst is the gem traditionally given for the sixth wedding anniversary. Wear it in celebration of your wedding nuptials or as your February birthstone and you’ll be in royal company--historically, royals have coveted the deep purple hue of the February birthstone since at least the days of Alexander the Great.
Russia was the major source of amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits were found in Brazil. Once as rare as ruby or emerald, amethyst was suddenly in abundance. Today, the most important sources of amethyst are in Africa and South America. Brazil is still a major supplier, especially its southernmost state, Rio Grande do Sul. Amethyst from Brazil sometimes forms in hollow, crystal-lined geodes so large you can stand in them. In Africa, Zambia’s Kariba mine is one of the largest amethyst producers in the world. Amethyst mined there tends to be of superb quality with richly saturated colors.