Amethyst, the birthstone for Pisces and the month of February, is said to have calming qualities.
- In addition to being the official birthstone for February, amethyst is also the gemstone for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
- Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, occurring naturally as crystals within rocks.
- Amethyst is the most valued member of the quartz family, considered a semiprecious gem for its violet color.
- A quartz must be purple to be amethyst, but can range in shade from light lilac to deep purple.
- Heating amethyst removes the color or changes it to the yellow of citrine. Today, most citrine is made in this manner.
- The word amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos,” meaning sober.
- Throughout history, amethyst has been used to protect against drunkenness and to help overcome addiction. Today, amethyst is considered to be a symbol of calm and tranquility, and a stabilizing force for those struggling to overcome addictive behaviors.
- The astrologer Camillo Leonardi wrote that amethyst quickens intelligence and gets rid of evil thoughts.
- A gift of amethyst is a symbol of protection, said to strengthen the bonds of love and overcome difficulty.
- Amethyst was associated with Dionysus, the Greek god of wine. In ancient Greece, people believed wine served in amethyst goblets would protect against drunkenness.
- According to Greek mythology, Amethyst was a young virgin who angered the Greek god, Dionysus, after he became drunk from red wine. When Amethyst called the goddess Diana for help, Diana turned Amethyst into a white quartz. When Dionysus felt remorse, he cried, dripping his tears into his goblet of red wine. When the goblet overturned, the red wine spilled on the white quartz, coloring it purple—the color of amethyst.
- Amethysts were once considered more valuable than diamonds, until deposits were found, increasing the quantity and lowering the value.
- Amethyst deposits have been found in Brazil, Canada, Australia, India, Madagascar, Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka and in the United States. Today, most amethyst comes from Brazil and Uruguay.
- Amethyst is the official state gemstone of South Carolina, after world-class amethysts were found at the Ellis-Jones Mine near Due West, SC on June 24, 1969. The South Carolina amethysts are presently on display at the American Museum of Natural History and the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History.
- In August 2011, the world’s largest amethyst, called the “Empress of Uruguay,” was vandalized by a tourist while the 2.5-ton geode was on display in Queensland, Australia.
- Known as “the royal beauty,” amethyst has been associated with royalty throughout the ages, in part because of its royal purple color. A large amethyst is among the closely-guarded gemstones in the British Crown Jewels, and it is said that amethyst was a favorite of Queen Catherine the Great of Russia.
- Amethyst also has much religious history and symbolism. In the Bible, it was one of the 12 stones that adorned the high priest Aaron’s breastplate in Exodus 39. As a symbol of spirituality and piety, amethyst has also been used to decorate churches and crosses, and worn in rings and on rosaries by religious clergy.
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