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FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE

Amethyst is the modern, traditional and ayurvedic gemstone for February, bloodstone is the mystical birthstone with onyx and moonstone alternate gemstones.

The amethyst has over an 8,000 year history of usage in China. Amethyst is a purple quartz crystal and is steeped in ancient lore, mysticism and old magic. The stone's availability and magical qualities made it the stone of preference for commoners and kings four thousand years ago and it traveled all over the globe as a form of trade exchange. It is still one of the most popular stones in the world and used in many different countries for common and uncommon purposes.

Legend has it that the amethyst originated from Bacchus, the god of wine.Bacchus became angry at the mortals and vowed that the next mortal to cross his path would be eaten by tigers. Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden, was on her way to worship the goddess, Diana. Diana turned her into colorless quartz to keep her from being eaten. Bacchus observed the miracle and repented his hasty decision, and poured wine over the young maiden, leaving her feet and legs colorless. This is the reason that amethyst crystals are usually uneven in color and have a colorless base at the bottom. They say the goddess of love and the god of wine, when entwined, will have light and dark envolements.

Amethyst was credited with the power to prevent intoxication when bound to the navel or when wine was drunk from an amethyst goblet. This gem also expelled poison, quickened the wits, protected soldiers, and cured gout. Drinking lotion of amethyst was supposed to cure barrenness; wearing it was believed to increase business success, guard against witchcraft, and restrain sexual passion.

Amethyst is the traditional gem worn by the Catholic Church hierarchy. Paradoxically, it is known as Bacchus' stone and as the Bishop's stone. In the latter context, it was said to strengthen faith and aid prayer. The natal stone for the month of February, it should be set in gold or silver for strongest effect.

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