illustration: Nature’s Creations
Purple has long been considered a regal color, and amethysts frequently appear in royal and religious jewelry. Buddhists have believed that amethyst enhances meditation, and the gem is often used for Tibetan prayer beads. Various cultures have associated amethyst with peace, balance and courage, and ascribed to it the ability to cure insomnia and relieve pain.
In honor of the February birthstone, this month, I’m doing a little research on amethyst. Amethyst comes in colors ranging from deep purple to the palest shades of pastel lavender and even pink. The most valuable hue is a strong reddish purple shade, but we love every shade of amethyst.
Color: Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue.
Mohs Hardness: 7.0 Mohs
According to Greek mythology, Amethyst was a young virgin who became an object of wrath from the Greek God Dionysus after he became intoxicated with wine. Amethyst cried out to Goddess Diana for help and she immediately turned the girl into a white, shimmering stone (quartz). When Dionysus realized what had happened, he felt sorry for his actions and his tears dripped into his goblet of red wine. The goblet overturned and the red wine spilled all over the white rock, saturating it until it became the purple quartz that is known as Amethyst.
Whether or not you believe in that story of its historical origins, the name amethyst factually derives from the ancient Greek word amethustos – meaning sober. It was said that an amethyst could prevent the bearer from becoming excessively drunk and also instills a sober and serious mind. In truth, it was believed that if a person drank from a cup or goblet made entirely of amethyst, they wouldn’t get drunk at all. Ancient Egyptians used the stone as the representative sign of the goat. That goat was considered the enemy of vines and vineyards and thus, the antidote of wine.
Physical, Mystical and Spiritual Properties
Throughout history, the stone has often been attached to controlling evil thoughts, quickening intelligence, make a shrewd businessman (or woman), preserving soldiers from battle wounds, aiding warriors in victory, helping hunters in search of game, protecting the wearer from contagious diseases and putting demons to fight if the figure of a bear is inscribed on the jewel. The stone was known as a gem that would bring forth the highest, purest aspirations of human kind. Chastity, sobriety and control over one’s thoughts were all attributes heightened by wearing the stone.The gem would guard against the anger of passion and the violent base nature of its wearer- encouraging calm, bravery and contemplation.
Artist Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethyst enhances intelligence and protects against evil thoughts. It is also one of the emblems of the Twelve Apostles and English regalia were even decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty. Today, while Brazil is the primary source of this gemstone, fine material can be found elsewhere, especially in Zambia.
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