February’s Birthstone: Amethyst

Since its discovery around 3000 B.C., the deep purples of the amethyst, February’s birthstone, have symbolized royalty. Catherine the Great and Egyptian rulers favored the gem as an emblem of wealth and luxury. Once thought to be a token of Christian love and sacrifice, the amethyst was used by medieval ­clergymen to promote divine revelations and wisdom—a theory Leonardo da Vinci also embraced.