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Today, as the most valued quartz variety, Amethyst is placed in designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike. The gem comes in wine purple, lilac, lavender, and even mauve hues. Amethysts can be found in many regions, but most originate from Brazil and Uruguay. Africa, Canada, Mexico, Russia, and even the USA yield amethysts as well. In 1993, more than a ton of amethyst was discovered in a cavern in Maine.

“Amethystos” means “not drunk.” Thus, in ancient Greece, amethysts—because of their wine color—were believed to prevent drunkenness. They were associated with Bacchus, the god of wine.

Other superstitions surround the gem. Long ago, farmers believed wearing amethysts would spare their crops from locusts or hail. The renowned artist, Leonardo da Vinci, encouraged the wearing of the stone. He believed that the gem quickened intelligence and ridded minds of evil thoughts. Da Vinci is not the only historical character with ties to amethyst

The amethyst obtained its position as the birthstone for February because of Valentine’s Day, which takes place during the month. The patron saint for romantic love, St. Valentine, was known to wear an amethyst ring adorned with a carved image of Cupid. Since then, the gem has symbolized deep affection, happiness, humility, and sincerity—traits that the Saint possessed.

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