I have never thought much about my birthstone. It's a nice purple hue and that's about it. Until you actually dig a bit deeper like what Dana Hunter did. It turns out amethyst has some pretty interesting stories and scientific tidbits about it that we tend to overlook or not consider at all.
So, everyone knows amethyst is a purple variety of quartz, yeah? And we're used to it being abundant and fairly inexpensive, aside from those jaw-dropping giant geodes and some really fabulous art.
So, it may shock you just a little bit to learn that gem-quality amethyst used to be considered just as valuable as rubies, celebrated in myth and legend. Rhea the Titan gave it to Dionysus, god of wine, to preserve his sanity from the vine. Royals and nobles sported it proudly. It even ended up in many a country's crown jewels. It remained an expensive stone, reserved only for the fortunate, right up until ginormous deposits were found in South America in the 1800s.
Of course, the law of supply and demand applies in the situation described above. The more amethysts available, the less valuable it becomes. Still, there are a few more things that you might want to know about the gemstone.
(Image credit: Dana Hunter/Scientific American)