Amethyst and Aquamarine: A Splash of Spring Color

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The last day of winter is March 19, and the purple, blue and green hues of the February and March birthstones remind us that spring is right around the corner. If you celebrate a birthday during either of these months, you’re fortunate to have a birthstone that is rich in color and history. Here’s a closer look at the characteristics and facts surrounding these two birthstones.

February – Amethyst

According to folklore, February’s birthstone is the stone of St. Valentine because he wore an amethyst ring engraved with the image of Cupid. What you should know, however, is that amethyst is actually purple quartz, and it ranges in color from a soft pastel to a dazzling reddish-violet. Here’s what else you should know about this brilliant birthstone:

  • Amethyst was discovered around 3000 B.C. Greek and Roman legends associated it with Braccus, the god of wine, and believed it prevented drunkenness. In fact, amethystos literally translates to “not intoxicated” in ancient Greek. Once worn as a symbol of royalty, amethyst is now very affordable.
  • Amethyst can be found all over the world, including the United States, but Brazil and Uruguay are the primary commercial sources. The world’s largest amethyst geode, named the “Empress of Uruguay”, is on display at The Crystal Caves in Australia and measures over 11 feet tall and weighs 2 1/2 tons.

March – Aquamarine

Aquamarine belongs to the beryl family, which puts it in the same category as emerald, although its color, which ranges from light blue to greenish-blue shades, is more even. Given the color, clarity and transparency of this gemstone, it’s no wonder the name comes from the Latin words for seawater. Check out these additional factoids about March’s birthstone:

  • Aquamarine is a favorite among jewelry designers because it can be refined in many ways to create a variety of beautiful designs. It’s also popular because of its even color, durability and shine.
  • Most aquamarine comes from Brazilian mines. In1953, the president and people of Brazil gave Queen Elizabeth an aquamarine necklace and earring set as a coronation gift. She later used the necklace pendant for the center stone of her Brazilian aquamarine tiara.
  • Early in his second term, the Brazilian government gave President Franklin Roosevelt a 1,298-carat aquamarine for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. The Roosevelt aquamarine was later donated to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum.

As winter comes to an end and the first signs of spring emerge, it’s a good time to enjoy the bright colors and fascinating history of the February and March gemstones.

Jeff Johnson & Co. is a full-service jeweler located in Upper Arlington, Ohio. We specialize in custom engagement rings, keepsakes for significant moments, and giving new life to family heirlooms. Our gemologists are trained by the Gemological Institute of America, and they work closely with each customer to ensure that we meet your vision and beyond. Stop by our showroom at 5025 Arlington Centre Blvd. (off Henderson Road), call 614-459-8890, You can also follow us on Facebook at Jeff Johnson & Co.