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Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.
A violet variety of quartz, its name come from the Greek, améthystos, meaning intoxicated. The ancient Greeks decorated drinking vessels with amethyst, believing it would prevent drunkenness.
Medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle because they believed amethyst kept the wearer cool-headed, as well as aided in healing.
Until the 19th century, when Brazil's large amethyst deposits were discovered, amethyst was as precious as ruby and emerald. Today it remains as the most valued variety of quartz.