February Birthstone: Amethyst From Telluride's Dolce
[click "Play", Joni Gotthelf talks about amethysts]
A companion post to our weekly astrology column, Cynthia Zehm’s Alacazem, Telluride Inside… and Out’s monthly birthstone post from Telluride’s Dolce Jewels. February’s birthstone is amethyst.
Amethysts are the crown jewels of the quartz family, occurring naturally as crystals within rocks.
The purple gemstone owes its name to the ancient Greek: “a” equals “not” when affixed to a noun and the noun “methustos” means “to intoxicate.” So amethysts, meaning “sober,” are what to wear when bar crawling Friday nights. Back in the day gods hobnobbed with fellow Greeks, this gemstone was not too surprisingly associated with Dionysus, god of wine. It was common practice to serve the grape from goblets made of amethyst in the belief the container would prevent overindulgence. (We refer you to stories about Dionysian rituals to understand just how well that turned out. Not.)
Historically purple has been a color associated with royalty, because purple dye was once upon a time scarce and spendy. The purple gemstone has been found in ruins dating as far back as the ninth century, adorning crowns, scepters, jewelry and breastplates worn in battle. Amethysts, also symbols of spirituality and piety, were once commonly used to ornament churches and crosses, rings and rosaries of bishops and priests.
A gift of an amethyst is said to strengthen the bond in a love relationship, making amethysts ideal anniversary and engagement gifts.
To learn more about how one designer, Dolce’s Joni Gotthelf, uses amethysts in her one-of-kind pieces, click the “play” button and listen to her brief interview.
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