Did you know that amethyst — February’s dazzling birthstone — is actually the purple variety of the mineral quartz?
Colorless quartz, known as “rock crystal,” was primarily used in ancient times to manufacture crystal balls and bowls. Other varieties include the October birthstone citrine, as well as rose quartz, smoky quartz, and tiger’s eye.
As the most prized member of the quartz family, amethyst boasts several key attributes. It is relatively common, affordable, and as cut stones, can be found in large sizes across a wide range of gem cuts and shapes.
To preserve an amethyst’s lustrous color, avoid prolonged exposure to heat or sunlight. If the stone is mounted, use a toothbrush to clean behind it where dust tends to collect, and wash it with warm, soapy water. Ultrasonic cleaning is usually considered safe, though steam cleaning is not recommended.
Read up on amethyst lore, and how wearing one can symbolize personal empowerment.