The traditional birthstone for February is Amethyst, a variety of quartz that comes in a range of purple shades and can display some lovely stripes and banding. Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems. A legend from ancient Greece tells us that a maiden called Amethyst was turned into a quartz crystal by the goddess Diana, to protect her from the attentions of Dionysus, god of drunkenness and frivolity! Once he saw what had happened, Dionysus was full of repentance and poured away his goblet of wine, forever staining the clear crystal purple. To this day, amethyst (from the word 'ametusthos' or 'not intoxicated') is used as a charm against drunkenness and to keep one calm and in control.