The Chic Amethyst
And Opals, Topaz and Bloodstone Jewelry
Although the Amethyst is the primary gemstone listed as the February birthstone, the American National Association of Jewelers actually has compiled a list of birthstones that includes a variety of choices for each month. For February, the list is topped by the amethyst, but also includes opals, topaz and bloodstones. This variety makes it possible for people to select birthstone jewelry in a range of colors and designs. When you combine these lovely gemstones with different choices of metal, such as sterling silver and yellow gold, and add the creative ideas of jewelry designers, the variety of choices available to the discriminating buyer are almost limitless.
What is an Amethyst?
According to the website for the American National Association of Jewelers, the Amethyst birthstone is associated with good health, sincerity and peace of mind. In ancient Greece it was believed that wearing amethyst would protect you from drunkenness! In fact, in early Greek and Roman cultures, drinking vessels were sometimes made of amethyst because they thought it would allow you to drink alcoholic beverages without becoming intoxicated. Of course, this use for amethyst has fallen away, since it didn't work. This was not the only superstition connected with the amethyst, however. During medieval time, European soldiers wore amethyst amulets because they thought the stone helped people heal and kept them cool-headed. The stone, despite its inability to heal soldiers and keep them sober, still remains very popular because of its lovely color. For many people, amethyst jewelry is quite appealing.
Amethyst is simply a violet colored variety of quartz crystal. It is just one of many types of quartz. The hardness of the mineral makes it suitable for use in jewelry. The colors of amethyst can vary from a light pink-violet to a deep purple. Sometimes it is possible to see a little red or blue in the stone. When cut according to the art of lapidary, every effort is made to cut the stone so that the finished color of the gemstone will be homogenous.
Amethyst has been used as a gemstone since at least the days of the ancient Egyptians. It is found in abundance in geodes and hollow agates from Brazil and Uruguay. It is also mined in South Korea, Austria, Russia, Zambia and in the United States. It was once considered among the most valuable gemstones, a list that includes diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. However, after it was discovered to be abundant in Brazil, it has lost much of its value as a precious gem. Despite its abundance, however, it is a highly prized gemstone, and appreciated for its lavender-purple color.
What are Opals?
Not everyone loves the color purple however, which means some people with February birthdays will seek out different choices for their birthstone jewelry. Among the choices available are opals. Opals are another stone related to quartz. Nearly all of the world's supply of opals comes from Australia, which has named the opal as its national gemstone. The internal structure of opals cause them to diffract light; as a result, it can appear to contain many different colors, including blue, gray, red, orange, white, yellow, green, magenta, rose, brown, slate, pink, black and even clear. This interplay of color is one of the reasons why opals are highly prized as jewelry.
What is Topaz?
Another choice of birthstone jewelry for the month of February is topaz. Pure topaz is an almost colorless and transparent stone. However, it often has tints of impurities which make it more interesting. It can contain tints of blue, yellow, wine, reddish-orange, gray, or a blue-brown.
What are Bloodstones?
Bloodstones are made from the mineral heliotrope, a dark green quartz with some inclusions of red. Because the small spots of red are thought to resemble spots of blood, the stones are called bloodstones. This stone is usually found in India, although it can also be found in Brazil, Australia, China and the United States.
Choosing the Best Birthstone for Your Loved One
If the woman in your life has asked specifically for an item of birthstone jewelry for her February birthday, it is quite likely that she is expecting to receive an amethyst. If you are not certain, you should ask her. The amethyst is the primary birthstone for February, and is almost certain to be the stone she is expecting.
However, if she doesn't like to wear purple or lavender, and is hoping for something a little different, you may want to look at a selection of jewelry made from opals, topaz or bloodstones. In this way, you can still present her with a gorgeous piece of birthstone jewelry that she will wear.
Where to Buy Birthstone Jewelry
Birthstone jewelry can be purchased in many different stores, including department stores like Macy's, Penny's and Nordstrom's. You can also find birthstone jewelry in most jewelry stores. However, since none of the stones for the month of February are extremely expensive, your selection in jewelry stores and department stores is likely to be somewhat limited. As a result, if you want to see lots of different jewelry items from which you can select your favorite, you may want to at least explore some of the items available at websites like Amazon.
Buying Jewelry Online
If you are choosing to purchase a piece of amethyst jewelry online from a reputable site like Amazon, then the item you receive should look very similar to the item you see on your computer screen. However, when choosing topaz, opal or bloodstone jewelry designs, you are not likely to receive an item that looks identical to what you see in the online catalogue. That is because these natural stones are so unique and multi-colored that it would be almost impossible for any two stones to look the same.
The advantage of buying your jewelry online is that the selection is so much larger than what you are likely to find available in any one store. You just need to be aware that you are buying a natural stone and, because of this, you should anticipate that your item of jewelry will be completely unique, and not identical to any other.
Source for alternate birthstones: bernardine.com/birthstone
Source for information about specific stones: wikipedia.com
Gifts for Baby Boomers
A Beautiful Amethyst and Diamond Amethyst Jewelry Set
Amazon Price: $79.99 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 31, 2015)
Topaz Jewelry is Stunning
Amazon Price: $65.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 31, 2015)
Bloodstone Jewelry is an Exotic Birthstone Choice
Amazon Price: $39.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jan 31, 2015)