Amethyst (SiO2) is a violet or purple
variety of quartz often used in jewellery.The name comes from theGreek; a(not) and methuskein ("to intoxicate"), a
reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from intoxication;
the ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking goblets
out of it in the belief that it would prevent drunkenness.
Ranking members of
the Roman Catholic Church traditionally wear rings set with a large amethyst as part of their office. Supposedly, when a drunken Dionysus was pursuing a
maiden called Amethystos (which basically translates into “not drunken”), who
refused his affections, she prayed to the gods to remain chaste. The goddesss
Artemis granted the prayer, transforming her into a white stone; humbled by
Amethystos' desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone she
had become as an offering, dying the crystals purple.
In the 20th
century, the color of amethyst was attributed to the presence of manganese.
However, since amethyst is capable of being greatly altered and even
discharged by heat, the color was believed by some authorities to be from an
organic source. Ferric thiocyanate was suggested, and sulfur was said to have
been detected in the mineral.
On exposure to
heat, amethyst generally becomes yellow, and much of the citrine, cairngorm, or yellow quartzof jewelry is said to
be merely "burnt amethyst". Veins of amethystine quartz are apt to lose their color on the exposed outcrop.
Because it has
a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, amethyst is treasured for its use in
jewelry. However, it is still just 1/15 as hard as diamond.
Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient
Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglios. Amethyst is a widely distributed mineral, but fine, clear specimens that are suitable
for cutting into gemstones are confined to comparatively few localities. Such amethyst crystals occur either in the cavities of mineral-veins in
granitic rocks, or as a lining in agate geodes. A huge geode, or "amethyst-grotto",
from near Santa Cruz in southern Brazil was exhibited at the Düsseldorf
Exhibition of 1902. Many of the hollow agates of Brazil and Uruguay contain a
crop of amethyst crystals in the interior.
A lot of fine amethyst comes from Russia, especially from near Mursinka in the Ekaterinburg
district, where it occurs in drusy cavities of granitic rocks. Brazil and
many localities in India yield amethystas well; amethyst is also found in Sri Lanka, chiefly as pebbles.
Energy Interpretation by Sylvia Rose-Johnson:
In general, Amethyst helps you "speak" to the Spirit. It is comonly a symbol of heavenly
understanding, and of a pioneer in thought and action on the philosophical,
religious, spiritual and material planes. Amethyst is the birthstone associated with February and
is also associated with the Astrological signs of Pisces, Aries (especially
the violet and purple variety), Aquarius, and Sagittarius.