Amethyst is a variety of quartz (SiO2) believed to have its violet coloring due to the presence of iron and other trace elements. Its regal coloring makes it the most prized gemstone in the quartz family; other quartz varieties include Citrine, Rose Quartz, and Praisioilte.
Chemical Formula: Silica (Silicon Dioxide, Si02)
Mohs Scale Hardness: 7
Modern Birthstone: February
Treatment: Heating or Irradiation (Heating can lighten overly dark stones or remove brown tones. Irradiation can darken light colored quartz stones to look more like amethyst)
Mined: Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Siberia, Canada, India, Bolivia, Argentina and some African countries.
Care: Store out of direct sunlight. Clean your Amethyst with warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush. Keep away from strong chemicals and avoid sudden temperature changes.
History: Documented use of amethyst in jewelry dates back as early as the Ancient Egyptians. Egyptian warriors were said to wear amethyst during battle in order to remain calm.
Amethyst, a symbol of celibacy, is also known as the “Bishop’s stone” and was incorporated in church jewelry in the Middle Ages and beyond. It has also been used in Royal jewelry throughout history, primarily because of its color. Purple was a color of luxury, and the violet dye for clothing was expensive, so it was reserved for the wealthy; the matching amethyst crest jewelry followed suit.
The American National Association of Jewelers added Amethyst as the birthstone of February in 1912. It has also been attributed to the Zodiac sign, Pisces.
Metaphysical Properties: Amethyst is a calming stone and has long been thought to help overcome addiction and protect against drunkenness. Wearing Amethyst is said to heighten chastity, sobriety, and the ability to control one’s thoughts. Healers have coveted this stone for it’s abilities, evoking energies of stability, peace, calm, balance, courage and inner strength. It has been used as an alternative source for aiding hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and problems with the heart or lungs. Amethyst has been used to help align the chakras throughout the body.
Folklore: comes from the Greek “amethystos” meaning “not drunk.” In Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, and of wine, was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos’s desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.