Amethyst is the purple variety of the mineral quartz often used as an ornamental stone in jewelry. An exceedingly popular gemstone, amethyst is also February's birthstone. The lovely violet hue of many amethyst gems is unparalleled, resulting in other more expensive gemstones often being compared to the beautiful amethyst. Although it must always be purple to be an amethyst, this attractive stone can and does present a wide range of lavender hues. Amethyst is not the same everywhere it is found. Different localities can produce an amethyst unique to that particular region or even specific mine. Were it not for amethyst’s availability in quite a few sources throughout the world it would be a very expensive stone indeed.
The Ancient Greek's were said to believe that amethyst gems had powers to ward off the effects of intoxication or drunkenness yet most likely they were referring to the almost wine-like color of some stones encountered. The ancient Egyptians used amethyst as well. While the Greeks and Romans created drinking vessels out of the lovely stone, medieval European soldiers were said to have worn amethyst amulets as protection in battle. Furthermore, beads of amethyst have been found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England.