FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE AMETHYST
Amethyst is the birthstone for February — it is the most valuable violet-blue variety of quartz. It scratches white glass, strikes fire with steel, but yields to the file. Under the compound blowpipe it parts with its color. The blue color of Amethyst is believed to be caused by peroxide of iron.
FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE COLOR
Amethyst varies from transparent to translucent; is of a vitreous luster; and on the same specimen is often a dark-violet and nearly colorless.
The German chemist, Heintz, found a very dark-tinted Brazilian Amethyst become colorless, when subjected to 250° of heat, and, as it contained, at most, only 0.01 per cent, of manganese, he decided that the latter could not be the coloring principle.
From various other experiments he concluded, that organic matter could not produce the color, but that, most probably, it was owing to the peroxide of Han.
The finest violet Amethysts come from Siberia, Persia, India aun Ceylon. The Scottish Highlands were formerly distinguished for producing the cairngorm, a highly prized brown or yellow-species.
Amethyst is sometimes cut in the form of a Brilliant, and, when set, is supplied with It blue or red foil, in case it is pale, but, when deep-colored, it requires no artificial assistance. Though used in almost all descriptions of Jewelry, it shows best in necklaces.
The Amethyst is no longer prized so highly as once. And yet, when large-sized and intense and uniform in color, it is greatly valued still and well-cut stones, of one carat, are worth from three to five dollars, and so on in proportion to their bulk and tint.
FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE HISTORY
February Birthstone Amethyst. Credits to Longhairbroad @ Flickr
Among the ancientsAmethyst was ever a favorite one for purposes of engraving. Several fine specimens ofAmethyst have come down to our day, such as a bust of Trajan carried by Napoleon from Prussia to Paris during the wars of the Empire; the Apollo Belvedere; the Laocoon Group; the Farnese Hercules, etc.
Of its name: As with other precious stones, so with this, antique tradition has connected not a few superstitions. Thus its very name,—from the Greek privative, «a», and «methuo», to intoxicate,—was given to it, under the impression that wine, taken from a cup of this material, could not intoxicate.
Aristotle says that the Amethyst, if worn on the stomach hinders the ascension of vapors; the reason of it he gives to to be that it draws the vapors to itself, and thus dissipates them.
Audreas Baccius says (De Natura Gemmarum, Chap. XI) thatAmethyst sharpens the wit, destroys sleep, and resists the effects of poison.
MYSTICAL PROPERTIES OF AMETHYST
Here we will quote Nicols concerning Amethyst:
«Pliny, sporting in his natural History aboutAmethyst, saith that Amethyst doth draw nigh to the color of wine, hut it durst not toast it, that is, it taketh but very little of it: for before it doth throughly relish it, its glory doth end in a very delightful pleasing sparkling violet color: the most excellent of them have in them a glorious fiery brightness, which doth most excellently and pleasingly dart its self forth (as 1 have observed in one which I was once master of) through the transparent cloud of a sky color; from the mixture of its redness, brightness, or fiery splendor with this sky color, ariseth all the glorious delight of its pleasing tincture».
Amethyst is the birthstone for Aquarius
AMETHYST IN JEWELRY
Amethyst is valued by the jeweler in proportion to the depth, the richness, and uniformity of its color, and its perfect transparency: when complete in all these requisites it forms a stone of exquisite beauty; its color being perhaps more generally, attractive than that of any other gem, especially as it may be attained of as large a size as can be conveniently worn.
The most showy form in which Amethysts can: be made up is in necklaces, and as it is riot easy to find a number of perfect. stones with precisely the same tint of color, such suites are very valuable, and in great estimation among personages of the highest rank: the finest known is in the possession of her Majesty.
Amethyst is often employed as a ring stone; and when of a deep vivid tinge will sustain with advantage the presence of the Diamond; hence it is not unfrequently set round with brilliants.
Pale colored stones require the skillful assistance of the jeweler in suiting them with the proper foil; but good ones want no such help, and the less gold that is employed in making them up the better.
TheAmethyst is almost the only colored stone that can be worn with mourning; a casual advantage which however adds considerably to its value.
Imitations of Amethyst: The Amethyst may be imitated very closely with paste-so closely, that the imitation is distinguished with great difficulty from the real. The artificial gem, however, is somewhat heavier than the genuine, on account of the metallic oxides, which enter into its composition.
PHYSICAL & CHEMICAL PROPERTIES OF AMETHYST
Amethyst generally crystalized as pyramids on the exterior of rocks. The uniting planes of the prismatic portions are frequently marked by undulating lines, and all specimens, thus arranged, are now termed Amethysts.
The color of Amethyst is violet-blue of various degrees of intensity, not unfrequently passing in the same specimen from the richest tinge to almost colorless.
Amethyst occurs massive, in rolled pieces, or in hexahedral prismatic crystals, terminated by hexahedral pyramids like quartz or rock crystal, of which, indeed it is merely a variety.
Its crystals are rarely so distinct, as those of quartz, being for the most part laterally aggregated by the whole length of the prisms, the terminal pyramids alone being separate from each other; hens a fracture of the mass in the direction of the prisms presents a coarsely fibrous structure. Its luster is various and more as less thing, according to the degree of transparence, which varies considerably.
Amethyst gives fire with steel, but yields to the file. Its specific gravity is about 2.7. Before the blowpipe it becomes colorless, but does not enter into fusion.
It occurs in veins, or forming the interior part of agate balls in trap rocks.
MINES OF AMETHYST
The best Amethysts come from India and Ceylon, and although commonly called Oriental Amethysts, must be carefully distinguished from a much more valuable gem, the true Oriental Amethyst, or violet colored Sapphire.
Next in esteem are the Brazilian Amethysts; they are procured in the mining districts of that rich country at considerable expense.
The Amethyst of the jeweler are almost entirely obtained from the above mentioned places. Siberia, and various countries in Europe, especial Germany and Spain, furnish inferior, though beautiful Amethysts, proper for snuff boxes, and other inlaid articles.
As violet colored Quartz goes by the name of Amethyst, so when clear and colorless it is commonly known by the name of.