Characteristics: Amethyst is a variety of quartz ranging in color from deep purple to lavender depending on the iron content. The best specimens are from Brazil and come in a rich purple color, Russian stones have a reddish tinge, and Canadian stones tend to be more violet colored. It is the primary birthstone for February both in modern and ancient times. Collecting locations also include Zambia, South Africa, Germany, Australia, Sri Lanka and USA. Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale.
History: The name Amethyst is derived from the Greek word "amethustos" (meaning- not drunken) as ancients believed that anyone wearing amethyst or drinking from a cup made of amethyst could not become intoxicated. According to legend, Dionysus, the god of wine pursued a young maiden who refused his attentions and prayed for protection. The goddess Artemis answered her call for help, transforming her into a beautiful white crystal. When Dionysus saw what he had done, he was filled with remorse and poured wine over the stone maiden, turning her a lovely violet color.