Thursday, February 4, 2010

There's Something About February

Magnet # 160: Meredith Dillman's Purple Moon

Material: Plastic

Purchased By: Me

We're a less than a week into the second month of 2010, which means I'm past the six month mark on this blog. Cool - I've managed to keep it up for half a year!

I've had a bit of a tough time in planning out just which magnets to post in February. I guess this is just a weird month. Of course, February is the shortest month of the year. And just why is that the case? Well, there's a long-standing rumor that and Caesar Augustus took a day from it to add to his own month, August, but that's been disproven for the most part. What historians now believe is that the original Roman calendar only included the parts of the year that involved their harvest - from March through December - as it was so critical to their survival. When winter came, they weren't so concerned with the passage of the days and months, as it was too cold to worry about growing anything. Eventually, however, a new king came into power - Numa Pompilius. A wise leader, he was displeased with the incomplete calendar and oversaw its restructuring. He plotted out 355 days in the year, which was admittedly pretty close, and added two new months, January and February, at the very end of the year. As he saw it, one month in the year would have to include only 28 days. Because February was the 12th month, and the Romans considered even numbers to be unlucky, and it was the last month of the year and fell in the bitter cold of winter, it was stuck with the smallest amount of days. Centuries later, February would become the second month and receive one extra day each leap year, but it stayed at 28 days, even though some claim Julius Caesar temporarily added a 29th day. Some still claim they wouldn't mind doing away with February permanently - although probably not those who have birthdays then.

I've posted this magnet in honor of February's birthstone, the amethyst, my personal favorite. Yeah, I know the stone here is blue, but there's so much beautiful purple in the rest of this pic that it just reminds of the most purple stone of all. Don't get me wrong, I like that my birthday is in the warm and summery month of August, but I wouldn't mind swapping its yellow-green peridot, which I have never really liked, for a gorgeous amethyst. In reading up on this quartz for the post, I've learned that it actually dates all the way back to ancient times - but Ancient Greece, not Rome. There is even a myth about its creation, one I'd never read before, despite my love of mythology. Apparently, there was a maiden named Amethystos for whom Dionysus, the god of wine, had fallen. But she rejected him and prayed to remain chaste. The virgin goddess Artemis heard her prayer and turned her into a white stone. Dionysus poured his wine over it, forever making it purple. Because of this story, the Greeks and the Romans both believed amethysts had the ability to prevent drunkenness, and sometimes even fashioned drinking cups out of them. Even after their times, people have prized these stones and adorned themselves with them. It used to be considered one of the most precious gemstones of all, along with others such the diamond and ruby, but large deposits found around the world have diminished its value. I guess that's a good thing? There's even an amethyst quarry here in Georgia, Jackson Crossroads, located in the northeastern part of the state. It costs $25 to dig for a day. The Travel Channel's Kirsten Gum visited it on an episode of her show, Cash and Treasures, and made some nice discoveries. I may have to give that a try sometime.

One other irritating discovery I've made about February is that the 14th is the anniversary of two statehoods and two celebrations fall on that day. And I have a magnet that would fit for all of those occasions. What am I going to post? I guess we'll have to wait and see. And for those of you who aren't big fans of February, don't let it get to you. It'll be over with pretty soon...


  1. My wife's favorite stone is the amethyst as well. Rather than giving her a diamond ring for her engagement, she wanted the other stone as the centerpiece. I must say, my wallet was quite pleased. ;-)

    Anyway, she's ecstatic to learn about the mine so close to here. I'd love to join you on that trip and you can meet the other Elizabeth I know.

  2. Wow your wife and I seem to have a bit in common - that sounds like fun!

  3. It is hard to believe you have had this blog for 6 months. I look forward to reading your postings and check it daily. Thanks for the info and fun!

  4. Thanks for reading daily - I'm glad you enjoy it!