The legend of the origin of amethyst comes to us from Greek myth. Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a human and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path. Violent tigers should carry out his wish. Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana was to become the victim. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god’s tears stained the quartz purple, creating the famous gem.
Amethyst is the most precious and valuable stone belonging to the quartz group of minerals. It is recognized as the official birthstone for the month of July. Amethyst belongs to the macro crystalline branch of quartz and owes its violet-purple color to iron and aluminum impurities. Without such coloring agents, amethyst would simply be transparent, ordinary colorless quartz. Like other varieties of macrocrystalline quartz, amethyst has transparent to translucent clarity and a vitreous luster. Cryptocrystalline varieties almost always occur with translucent to opaque clarity.
Since purple is considered one of the royal colors, amethyst has quite a historical importance as an insignia of power. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and they were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Amethyst also holds a high place in the ranks of the Christian church and was referred to as “the stone of bishops”. The Greek word “amethystos” translates into “not drunken” and it was often worn as an amulet to protect against intoxication. Since amethyst was considered an antidote against drunkenness, many wine goblets were carved from amethyst stone.
In artificial light, amethyst does not display its best color. Amethyst looks best under daylight and more precisely, particularly after sunrise but before sunset, when the light is soft and warm. Amethyst is distinguished by it’s violet-purple colors. The best specimens should have a deep purple color and good saturation with minimal color zoning.
The most important amethyst deposits are in Brazil, namely the “Palmeira” amethysts of Rio Grande do Sul and the “Maraba” amethysts of Para. Other significant amethyst deposits are located in Bolivia, Canada, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka, United States (Arizona), Uruguay and Zambia.
In Antiquity, as well as in the Middle Ages, people believed that the cosmos is reflected in gemstones. The amethyst is assigned to the planet Neptune. The esoteric movement revived the ancient believe and the gem industry made it another marketing tool to promote certain gems.
The healing powers of gems remain a controversial issue, but are mentioned for centuries by healers, shamans and medicine men. Whether its a fact or a placebo effect, it doesn’t really matter as long as it helps or benefits those who wear them. To achieve the most benefit from your gemstone, it is suggested to wear the stone in direct contact with the skin contact, especially the targeted troubled area of the body. Amethyst is said to be of help for headaches, pancreas, backache and alcoholism.
Amethyst is ideal for any type of jewelry design because it is considered both hard and durable. Amethyst stones are typically worn as pendants, necklaces or rings. Due to amethyst having a purple-violet color, many believe that amethyst should be worn by feminine personalities. However, purple is a color of royalty and royalty has no gender preference. Therefore, it is an excellent choice of stone for man or woman. Amethyst is harder than most other materials, so it is very resistant to wear and tear.