Amethyst was officially adopted in 1912 by the American National Association of Jewellers as the official birthstone for February. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Pisces. Amethyst is recognized as the gem to give on the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz with a Mohs hardness of 7 and is one of the most prized members of the quartz family. Amethyst can display a range of shades including deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve. Top quality amethyst is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes. Its purple color made it a stone of royalty for many thousands of years.
Amethyst generally occurs as six sided crystals, most commonly inside geodes and in alluvial deposits all around the world and occurs in both crystalline or massive forms.It also forms as a drusy (druzy) coating which are micro-crystalline crusts covering the host rock. When manganese is present in clear quartz amethyst is produced, while the amount of iron contained in the specimen accounts for the depth of purple.
Some amethyst gemstones on the market today are heat-treated to produce a deeper color. Heat treating is permanent and these stones will not fade over time. Amethyst can also be heat treated to produce citrine, which is commonly recognized by an orange/yellow shade.
Throughout history amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is also said to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. Some sources suggest it is used to stabilize mental disorders.
Amethyst is also believed to be worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable. Amethyst powers include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual upliftment, courage, psychism, protection against thieves, and happiness.