Amethyst is February’s birthstone

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According to biblical lore, the deep, violet-hued amethyst means perfection; and where beauty is concerned, this jewel may truly be called ideal for many reasons.

Amethyst offers the qualities of transparency, lovely coloring and soft brilliance which brought it into popularity centuries before the Christian era. It was the third stone in the third row in the jeweled breastplate worn by Aaron, the high priest of the Hebrews, which contained 12 precious stones. In the New Testament, these stones became the foundation stones of the New Jerusalem described in the book of Revelation. Each stone was identified with a prophet.

…they believed the amethyst could insure their husbands’ love.

From Egypt, where it had been known for centuries, the amethyst was brought to Greece in the period just following the death of Alexander the Great. Amethyst, taken from the Greek word “amethustos” (meaning unaffected by drink), had a soaring reputation up until the 1800s. When the Roman Empire came into being, the Greeks, while no longer the masters, went on making beautiful jewelry. Roman women in particular prized amethyst jewelry for they believed the amethyst could insure their husbands’ love.

South American neighbors, Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil and Uruguay, are producing at least 85 percent of the world’s most popular affordably priced gem. Nevertheless, it is Russia and Africa that supply the finest quality stones.

These stones have a regal appearance, containing a reddish overtone, which gives the appearance of a king’s velvet cape. Amethyst is a precious variety of crystalline quartz. It is quite durable and can be worn without worry of easy damage or abrasion.

Cos Altobelli is a third generation jeweler and president of Altobelli Jewelers in Burbank, previously located in North Hollywood for 60 years. His specialty is appraising for all functions and acting as an expert witness. He holds a graduate degree from the Gemological Institute of America and the title of Certified Gemologist Appraiser from the American Gem Society. He is the author of three appraisal books and has appeared on ABC-TV’s “Prime Time Live.” Reach him at (818) 763-5151.


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All That Glitters

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