This blog is all about the amazing purple gemstone Amethyst.
Amethyst is part of the Quartz family. It is the purple variety that has manganese and iron inclusions. It comes in different shades of purple from a pale lilac to a deep purple. It is usually semi-translucent. There are many varieties of amethyst – chevron amethyst, and prasolite which is the green variety of amethyst.
Amethyst is formed in beds of small points on matrix rock. It is formed mainly in hollows containing iron and silic acid solutions.
Amethyst is found in Britain, Brazil, Uruguay, South Africa, Madagascar, India, USA and Maissau in Austria, Canada, Mexico, Russia, East Africa and Siberia.
The stone is 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale.
It is used for several things including wand points, spheres, single points, clusters, jewellery and amulets. It can be used unpolished or polished.
It can be water cleansed, however do not place in direct sunlight as it fades the colour in the crystal.
Amethyst Formation: Trigonal crystal Long prismatic crystals
Chemical Composition: SiO2 Silicon oxide with Fe
History and Mythology of Clear Quartz
The name Amethyst derives from the Greek word ‘Amethustos’ which means ‘not drunk.
Neolithic period (approx 4000BC) used
Set in gold rings in 2400BC
Egyptians used amethyst in amulets and jewellery. See picture of a Middle Kingdom amulet from the British museum.
Egyptian warriors used to carry amethyst scarabs into battle with them as protection.
Roman and Greeks drank out of amethyst goblets and glasses as it was believed to stop drunkenness. It also was used to disguise water in the goblet, so others believed it was wine.
Pliny the elder has this to say about amethyst:
'We will now commence with another class of precious stones, those of a purple colour, or whose tints are derived from purple. To the first rank belongs the amethystos1 of India; a stone which is also found in the part of Arabia that adjoins Syria and is known as Petra, as also in Lesser Armenia, Egypt, and Galatia; the very worst of all, and the least valued, being those of Thasos and Cyprus. The name which these stones bear, originates, it is said, in the peculiar tint of their brilliancy, which, after closely approaching the colour of wine, passes off into a violet without being fully pronounced; or else, according to some authorities, in the fact that in their purple there is something that falls short of a fiery colour, the tints fading off and inclining to the colour of wine.
All these stones are transparent and of an agreeable violet colour, and are easy2 to engrave. Those of India have in perfection the very richest shades of purple, and it is to attain this colour that the dyers3 in purple direct all their endeavours; it presenting a fine mellowed appearance to the eye, and not dazzling the sight, as in the case with the colours of the carbunculus. Another variety approaches more nearly the hyacinth in colour: the people of India call this tint "socon," and the stone itself "socondion." A third stone of this class is of a more diluted colour, and is known as "sapenos," being identical with "pharanitis," so called from a country4 on the frontiers of Arabia that produces it. Of a fourth kind, the colour is like that of wine; and in a fifth it borders very closely upon that of crystal, the purple gradually passing off into white. This last kind is but little valued; for a fine amethyst should always have, when viewed sideways5 and held up to the light, a certain purple refulgence, like that of carbunculus, slightly inclining to a tint of rose.
Some prefer giving these stones the name of "pæderos"6 or of "anteros,"7 while to many they are known as "Venus'8 eyelid," a name which would seem to be particularly appropriate to the colour and general appearance of the gem. The falsehoods of the magicians would persuade us that these stones are preventive of inebriety, and that it is from this that they have derived9 their name. They tell us also, that if we inscribe the names of the sun and moon upon this stone, and then wear it suspended from the neck, with some hair of the cynocephalus10 and feathers of the swallow, it will act as a preservative against all noxious spells. It is said too, that worn in any manner, this stone will ensure access to the presence of kings; and that it will avert hail and the attacks of locusts, if a certain prayer is also repeated which they mention. They make similar promises, too, in reference to the smaragdus, if graven with the figure of an eagle or of a scarabæus: statements which, in my opinion, they cannot have committed to writing without a feeling of contempt and derision for the rest of mankind.'
Neo-Assyrian Amethyst Vase, c. 8th century BC
An ancient Greek saying states:
‘An Amethyst is this stone:
I Bacchus, am a drinker.
Either it will teach me sobriety,
Or it will lead me to drink’
Greek mythology – Dionysus saw a maiden called Amethystros. She refused his advances. In anger Dionysus sent fierce tigers after her. She pleaded with Diana to help her and Diana took pity on her and turned her in to Quartz. When Dionysus saw what he had done, he started to weep. His tears were of wine and dyed the Quartz statue of Amethystros.
Old testament – Amethyst was one of the 12 stones of the breastplate of Aaron (Exodus 39)
Native Americans wore it to prevent being struck by lightning.
In the church, Amethyst was a symbol of Piety and Celibacy worn by priests, bishops, and cardinals.
It was the favourite stone of Catherine the Great of Russia.
Early 1700s amethyst was very rare - There was an amethyst bracelet worn by Queen Charlotte that was valued at the time at £200 which was a lot of money back then. After there was a new discovery found in Brazil of Amethyst it reduced its value.
Green Amethyst, otherwise known as prasolite was discovered naturally in the Mid 1950s in Brazil. In is now mainly heat treated and irradiated there. However, there are still some natural green amethyst in Poland, Namibia, Nevada, Zambia, and Tanzania.
In India, it was dedicated to the Buddha.
In Tibet – Monks have rosaries of amethyst to help meditation.
In Arabia – It was venerated as a protective stone and used to prevent nightmares
In the Middle Ages – It was a stone that helped improve the skin and protect against snake bites (Hildegard Von Bingen)
Konrad Von Megenberg believed it drove ’bad thoughts’ and stimulated thought processes
Crystal healing Properties
Amethyst is a symbol of peace of mind, Modesty and Piety. Amethyst magnifies the energy of crystals and is a great overall protector. It helps negotiation skills and with wealth and business success. Useful for purification during ceremonies. It reverts negative energy to positive.
Place in your home to help create relaxation, health and happiness.
Place under your pillow to help insomnia and protect against nightmares.
Combine with Moldavite, Azeztulite, Phenacite, scolecite and Natrolite.