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February Birthstone

If you are fortunate enough to be born in February, amethyst is your birthstone. This wonderful member of the quartz family often forms large, six-sided crystals. It's usually quite clear and can be cut into almost every shape, which makes it ideal for jewelry. Because amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, it's very wearable. Versatile amethyst offers a wide variety of shades, from reddish to violet-purple. If you prefer soft, subdued colors, you will truly enjoy the pastel lavenders of amethyst. Are you drawn to deeper, richer colors? Then you should consider some of the intense purple amethyst from Africa or South America.

Amethyst Polished
Amethyst Classification
Common Name Amethyst
Species Quartz
Amethyst Optical Properties
Transparency Transparent - Translucent
Dispersion Strength: Weak Fire Value: 0.013
Refractive Index 1.544-1.553
Tolerance:very constant
Birefringence 0.009
Optic Character Uniaxial
Optic Sign Positive
Polariscope Reaction Doubly Refractive (DR)
Fluorescence SWUV: Inert to weak blue
LWUV: Inert
Pleochroism Dichroic, weak to moderate purple and reddish purple
Amethyst Characteristic Physical Properties
Hardness 7
Streak White
Specific Gravity 2.640-2.690 Range:0.03/-0.02 Typical:2.660
Toughness Good
Inclusions Amethyst is a type II clarity stone. Color zoning in stones is often present in the form of "soap scum", "tiger stripes" or "zebra stripes", crystals, negative crystals, liquid inclusions, two-phase inclusions, partially-healed fractures, hematite needles.
Luster Vitreous
Stability Good
Fracture Conchoidal
Cleavage None
Amethyst Chemistry & Crystallography
Chemical Name silicon dioxide (aka silica)
Chemical Formula SiO2
Crystal System Trigonal
Chemistry Classification Silicate

Amethyst Colors

  • Purple Amethyst Purple

Alternate Names

Spirit Quartz If It Has Secondary Pale Amethyst Growth Coverage, Rose Of France If Pale Lilac

Countries of Origin

Tanzania, United Republic Of; Afghanistan; Argentina; United States of America (the); Sri Lanka; Uruguay; Madagascar; Zambia; Thailand; Bolivia (Plurinational State of); India; Canada; Mozambique; Morocco; Unknown; Botswana; China; Namibia; Brazil; Mexico; South Africa; Nigeria


Whether in faceted stones, crystal specimens, polished pebbles or beads, amethyst has enjoyed popularity in nearly every culture throughout its ancient history. Before the lucrative deposits of Africa and South America were discovered, amethyst was as treasured as ruby and emerald. February's traditional birthstone, striking purple amethyst is the most popular gemstone of the quartz group.


Avoid a jeweler's torch

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More About Amethyst

Deeply steeped in history and lore, ancient cultures believed amethyst had protective and curative powers; it was closely associated with spirituality, faith, and wisdom. It was even thought to prevent drunkenness. In fact, its name comes from the Greek and means not drunk. For centuries amethyst was reserved for the rich and the royal. Its deepest shades call to mind the power of "old money" and the sophistication of the wealthy. Fortunately, the beauty, history, and mystery of amethyst can now be affordably yours. Why not treat yourself like royalty and enjoy all that amethyst offers?

Amethyst Gemstone

Sisk Gemology Reference

Showcasing 200 gemstones in over 1,000 pages and accompanied by more than 2,000 photos, The Sisk Gemology Reference is a must-have in every collector’s library. Each comprehensive, three-volume set features state-of-the-art photography, detailed illustrations, and scientifically precise descriptions to create an entrancing experience for gemstone amateurs and afficionados alike.

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Tim Matthews


Tim Matthews

Tim Matthews is President and Chief Executive Officer of Jewelry Television® (JTV), as well as a member of the company's Board of Directors. He oversees and leads all aspects of the company's powerful omni-digital retail platform that uniquely specializes in fine jewelry and gemstones. His passion for business and gemstones has led him to become a recognized expert in the field of gemology. He is a life member of the Gemmological Association of Great Britain (Gem-A) and has earned Gem-A's highest degrees, the Gemmology (FGA) and Diamond (DGA) diplomas. He is also a Graduate Gemologist (GG) of the Gemological Institute of America (GIA) and has also completed GIA's Graduate Diplomas in Diamonds, Colored Stones and Pearls. Under his leadership, JTV has become the leader in the sourcing and selling of color gemstones and jewelry.

This page was created on June 27, 2014.

This page was last edited on October 24, 2019.