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February - Amethyst

The Details:

The name is derived from Greek meaning 'not drunken' as the stone was once attributed with powers to prevent intoxication. The god Bacchus, neglected by the goddess Diana, decided in a fit of spite that tigers would devour the first person he met. The beautiful maiden Amethyst crossed his path. When the beasts attacked her, she called on Diana for protection, and the goddess responded by turning her to stone. Penitent, Bacchus poured wine over her petrified body, giving it its purple hue. One of the first gemstones used by man, Amethyst gave rise to a great many other legends. It was thought to safeguard soldiers, ensure victory, aid hunters, protect against diseases, control evil thoughts, quicken the intelligence, and make its owner shrewd in business. During the middle ages many Kings and Queens had their chalices carved from Amethyst Quartz so when consuming wine they would not get drunk. Eventually, this led to the association of Purple with the color of royalty.

Up, up and away! The price of top quality Amethyst has continued to soar for the last 18 months. Price increases of 60 - 70% for "gem material" are not uncommon. Even the less intense shades, if clean, have risen 20-30%. Mining problems in Brazil, the fall of the US dollar against world currencies and increased demand from the American jewelry industry have all contributed to the increase in price. With the introduction of the Japanese reconstructed (JR) Amethyst ten years ago most gem dealers expected the price of Amethyst to fall. Instead, increase demand came from those people desiring The Real Thing! The introduction of JR forced many gem dealers to test more of the rough, be more sure of their sources and purchase from a continually diminishing supply.

Mohs Hardness: 7

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