For you love birds out there, here’s a bit of birthstone lore for February. It is said that St. Valentine wore an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid. Legend tells that this ring signaled Roman soldiers of Valentine’s willingness to perform Christian wedding ceremonies. Another tale shares that Leonardo Da Vinci thought that amethyst quickened intelligence and got rid of evil thoughts. In Da Vinci’s time, this stone was as expensive as ruby and emerald gems, but this changed in the 19th century when Brazil’s large amethyst deposits were discovered, making it more widely available. As the purple variety of the quartz mineral species, amethyst’s color can be cool and bluish or a reddish violet that’s sometimes referred to as “raspberry.” However, the term “amethyst” only refers to the stone’s color. Sometimes green quartz is mistakenly called “green amethyst.” It’s a bit like telling folks you have a “green purple,” if you catch the drift. Just as biologists classify animals by “genus” and then “species,” gemologists classify stones by “species” and then “varieties.” In this case, species = quartz; variety = amethyst and green. Today as the most valued quartz variety, amethyst is in demand for designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike. We have some crowd pleasers on display this month, so stop by for a quick tour!