Ah yes, the purple stone. Amethyst, the birthstone for February got its name from the Greek word “amethystos” which means “not drunken”. Amethyst was suppose to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus which is why wineglasses were often carved from it. Amethyst is also the purple variety of quartz family. Historically, the finest amethyst were found in Russia.
As the majority of the country heads into cooler temperatures of late fall/early winter, November’s OTHER birthstone, citrine, provides a much needed burst of sunshine. The warm, sunny color of this popular gemstone inspired its name, derived from the French word “citron,” meaning “lemon”. If you missed my post on topaz, the other November birthstone, read about it here.
Topaz is one of the birthstones for November. The other is citrine quartz. In today’s post we are going to talk about topaz, we will save citrine for another day!
Most authorities agree that the name topaz comes from Topazios, the old Greek name for a small island in the Red Sea, now called Zabargad. (The island never produced topaz, but it was once a source of peridot, which was confused with topaz before the development of modern mineralogy). Some scholars trace the origin back to Sanskrit (an ancient language of India) and the word topas or tapaz, meaning “fire”.
Peridot is the birthstone for August and the 15th anniversary gemstone. Here are two very interesting facts about peridot. Some peridot is quite ancient, it has been found in pallasite meteorites, which are remnants of our solar system’s birth. It is estimated those stones are approximately 4.5 billion years old. In 2005, peridot was found in comet dust brought back from the Stardust robotic space probe. Yep, that is the truth.