February is a short month, but the days stretch out with a little more sun every day. The first brave crocus flowers are pushing up to the surface, sometimes showing through the snow. Their cheerful purple and yellow blossoms promise that spring is on the way. February is a time for hope, and with St. Valentine’s Day mid-month, it’s also a time for romance. The birthstone for February is amethyst, a delicately purple gem close in color to some of those gorgeous crocus blossoms.
For a short month, February can claim the birthday of a huge range of talented people. Legends as diverse as Bob Marley, Babe Ruth, Ronald Reagan and Zsa Zsa Gabor share a February 6th birthday. February 12th is famous as Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, but did you know that he shares it with scientist Charles Darwin and children’s author Judy Blume? Basketball great Michael Jordan will be celebrating on the 17th, with fellow basketball legend Charles Barkley following on the 20th, a date shared by Ivana Trump, Trevor Noah and Rihanna. Had 2016 not claimed actor Alan Rickman, he would be celebrating on the 21st. George Washington’s birthday is the 22nd. That’s a lot of talent and fame for just 28 days! On leap years, we can celebrate swing music great Jimmy Dorsey, classical composer Gioachino Rossini and 1940s pop star Dinah Shore.
The Romance of Amethyst
The color match with blooming crocus is not the only reason amethyst is a perfect birthstone for February. St. Valentine of Rome himself, patron saint of engaged couples, wore an amethyst ring. His had an engraved image of Cupid, according to the Gemological Institute of America. Today, you can find amethyst rings and pendants with all sorts of settings, including of course the Claddagh and Celtic knotwork.
Purple has always been associated royalty in many cultures. And once upon a time, amethyst was so rare that only the most elite had it. It was in the same category as diamonds, rubies and sapphires. In the 19th century, larger deposits were discovered in Brazil and more recently cubic zirconia became popular, ending the shortage. But the beauty of amethyst remains unchanged.
The ancient Greeks saw amethyst as a symbol of Bacchus, god of wine, because of its purple hue. They believed that it protected anyone wearing it from becoming drunk, and that belief spread and lingered beyond ancient Greece. The word ‘amethyst’ is derived from the ancient Greek words for ‘not drunk’. Amethyst is associated with being clear-headed and clever, skillful in conflict and business. In general, purple represents royalty, wisdom and spirituality. Does that sound like the February birthday girl in your life?
If you are looking for a perfect gift for a woman born in February, you can celebrate her birthday and her love of Ireland with beautiful Claddagh or Celtic knotwork birthstone jewelry. It can be a wet, cold and dreary month. Why not brighten it up with something sparkly?