February – amethyst
Amethyst is the clear,rich purple stone that is part of the Quartz family. It was believed to have many special powers to protect and heal the wearer – to cure drunkenness, control evil thoughts, bring luck and improve the intelligence. Amethyst was also reputed to subdue passion!
The most famous amethyst is The Siberian. In 1660 King Frederic of Denmark ordered the Keeper of the Cabinet of Curiosities to create a throne for him in the style of the High Seat that belonged to a Scandinavian chief. It was made of Narwhal tusks with a single tapered tusk in the centre from which a canopy was suspended. A spectacular Siberian Amethyst weighing 1,305 carats, cut and polished as an elongated octagonal shape was hung from the centre of the canopy and was always displayed on a royal occasion. It is set in a fine gold casing with the name Christian V of Denmark in gold on enamel. It is thought to have been made by Paul Kurtz.
Amethyst can be found in the Ural Mountains in Russia and Brazil, and many other parts of South America, Sri Lanka and Africa.
Amethyst in crystal: photograph by Paul Hartley, Hartley Studios.