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.
Seals and signet rings (from Latin “signum” meaning sign) were used in the earliest civilizations and are of considerable importance in archaeology and history because of their practicality. The useful seal evolved into jewelry because of its utilitarian purpose of authenticating a document while being portable. At a time when few could read or write, seals bore a distinguishing mark or badge, equivalent to that of a signature. The seal was essential for establishing the ownership of property, for legitimizing business transactions, for rulers, governments and church officials authenticating any kind of correspondence. The signet ring became popular for its convenience because the seal was ready to be used at a moment’s notice. Only later did it become ‘a piece of jewelry’. The signet ring has been worn and used throughout history in all cultures around the world.