To Laura, 15 years old today.
Her birthstone is the Amethyst which Moses described as a symbol of the Spirit of God. Popular belief has it offering protection against drunkenness - the Greek word 'amethystos' means 'not intoxicated'. The Greek Goddess, Artemis, turned a nymph whom Bacchus loved into an amethyst hence the old name of Bacchus stone. Pliny of Rome said to wear it round the neck on a cord made from dog's hair to protect against snakebite. It is said to be the stone of friendship. The Amethyst has a very prominent position in the ornaments of the Catholic clergy because it was thought to put the wearer in a chaste form of mind and symbolised trust and piety.
So in honour of her birthday and her French ancestors, I'm giving her this cyber gift. It's a beautiful 1850s French Belle Epoch brooch crafted by Jules Wiese for Maison Froment-Meurice, Paris.