Purple Reign: The Month of February

Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February. In Greek mythology she was a beautiful virgin who on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Artemis became the victim of Dionysius. The god of wine having previously been insulted by a mortal vowed that the next human who crossed his path would die. Seeing the fierce tigers that Dionysius was about to set upon her, Amethyst prayed to Artemis who transformed her into a statue of pure crystalline quartz. When the god saw the exquisite statue he cried tears of wine, which stained the quartz purple. The gemstone is associated with purity; February’s birth flower the blue violet is symbolic of faithfulness. Both are believed to protect those who wear them from the intoxicating affects of Dionysius’ wine. The dissipated god is depicted in the painting by Dutch painter Paulus Bor (1601-1669). Amethyst was used for an intaglio portrait of the Roman Emperor Caracalla, which was later transformed to represent St. Peter. English Pre-Raphaelite painter Henry Meynell Rheam’s (1859-1920) gives us a beautiful maiden offering a bouquet of violets on a winter’s day.