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Strength, Courage, and the February Birthstone

February’s birthstone is the amethyst – celebrate with the gem of strength, courage, and royalty!

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The word “amethyst” is derived from the Greek word “amethystos,” meaning “not intoxicated.”  In ancient Greek lore, the amethyst was shown to ward off Dionysus, the god of wine and revelry.

According to legend, Dionysus, angered by an insult from a mortal, swore revenge on the next mortal he saw and created tigers to attack them.  Amethystos, a young woman traveling to pay tribute to the goddess Artemis, was unfortunately the first mortal to cross his path. The tigers lunged to attack the young woman.

To protect her from the tigers, Artemis quickly turned Amethystos into a quartz statue.  At the sight of the beautiful statue, Dionysus wept tears of wine in regret of his actions.  The wine stained the statue a purple hue, creating the purple amethyst stone we are all familiar with today.

Because of Artemis’ quick actions to save the young woman, amethyst was thought to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-thinking.  This belief was passed down to medieval soldiers who wore the stone into battle.  Leonardo da Vinci even wrote that amethysts helped him ward off negative thoughts and boost his intelligence.

Amethyst jewelry dates back as far as 2000 BC. Heralded as one of the most precious of gemstones (and often held in the same regard as diamonds), amethysts in ancient times were reserved exclusively for royalty and the clergy.  It was considered to be the “Jewel of the Gods” and served as the emblem of Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles.

The discovery of more abundant supplies made the amethyst widely accessible and this beautiful stone is now enjoyed by many as a symbol of peace, strength, and courage.  It is also used to celebrate the 6th and 17th years of marriage.

Commonly purple in color, amethysts can range from a light violet color to a deeper blue or reddish shade of purple (the shades vary depending on the light).

See another piece you like that is not set with an amethyst? Give us a call at 800-798-6173 or e-mail us at info@gallerybyzantium and we’d be happy to customize one of our pieces for you!

Whether you’re celebrating a birthday or anniversary, give the gift of tradition this February and enjoy 15% off our entire Amethyst Collection (click here to view the collection)

(Click on the product name to view) St. Sophia Cross | Canterbury Cross Cufflinks | Jeweled Byzantine Cross


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