|Amethyst is the
official birthstone for February as adopted by the American
National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the birth
stone for the Zodiac sign of Pisces. Amethyst is suggested as a
gem to give on the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Amethyst is 7.0 on the Mohs scale of hardness. Amethyst is mined
in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina and some African
countries. Generally, Amethyst from South America tends to be
available in larger sizes than African Amethyst but amethyst
from Africa has the reputation for having better, more
saturated, color in small sizes. Very dark Amethyst, mostly in
small sizes, is also mined in Australia. Dark rich, royal colors
of Amethyst have been treasured by kings and queens for
centuries and can be traced back to the Minoan period in Greece
(c. 2500 B.C.). During the 15th century the French fleur-de-lis
brooch could only be worn by the Royal family on ceremonial
occasions. Amethyst is used as faceted stones or polished
cabochons and is carved in various shapes. Amethyst beads are
used in necklaces, earrings and other jewelry in both rough
unpolished forms, smooth glossy shapes, faceted beads and
Click here for a picture in natural form.
Click here for more faceted and natural specimens.
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and the most valued
member of the quartz family. It must be purple to be amethyst,
but it can display a range of shades including deep purple,
light lilac, lavender and mauve. Top quality amethyst is a deep
medium purple with rose- colored flashes. Its purple color made
it a stone of royalty for many thousands of years. Most Amethyst
gemstones on the market today are heat-treated to produce a
deeper color. Heat treating is permanent and these stones will
not fade over time. Unless otherwise stated, assume that any
Amethyst you purchase today has been heat treated to increase
the depth of color. Amethyst gets its name from the Greek word "amethystos"
translated as "not drunken" or "sober".
The formula for Amethyst is a variety of Quartz, SiO2,
Quartz-Silicon Oxide. Amethyst can occur as long prismatic
crystals that have a six sided pyramid at either end or can form
as druzes that are crystalline crusts covering the host rock
that only show the pointed terminations. It is found inside
geodes and in alluvial deposits all around the world and occurs
in both crystalline or massive forms. When manganese is present
in clear quartz Amethyst is produced, while the amount of iron
contained in the specimen accounts for the depth of purple.
Amethyst is only one of several quartz varieties. Other
varieties that form macroscopic (large enough to see) crystals
are as follows:
- Citrine is a yellow to orange gemstone variety that is
rare in nature but is often created by heating Amethyst.
- Milky Quartz is the cloudy white variety.
- Rock crystal is the clear variety that is also used as a
- Rose quartz is a pink to reddish pink variety.
- Smoky quartz is the brown to gray variety.
Legends, Myths and Healing
legend of the origin of Amethyst comes from Greek myths.
Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an
insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal
that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his
wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden
on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned
Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her
from the brutal claws. Dionysius 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 gem we know today.
Throughout history Amethyst has been used to guard against
drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming
addiction. Amethyst was also thought to encourage celibacy.
Because of that, Amethyst was very important in the
ornamentation of churches in the Middle Ages. Bishops still
often wear amethyst rings. In Tibet, Amethyst is considered to
be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it. It
has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and
other pain. Some sources suggest it is used to stabilize mental
disorders. Worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable. Amethyst
powers include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual
upliftment, courage, psychism, protection against thieves, and