Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek words for not intoxicated, a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication.
Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems. The Greeks believed amethyst gems could prevent intoxication, while medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle. The reason for this being that amethysts are believed to heal people and keep them cool-headed. Beads of amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England.
Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.