Amethyst is a semi-precious stone whose color ranges from light to dark purple, depending on the amount of iron in the stone. The darker the stone the higher price it commands. ‘Siberian’ or ‘Deep Russian’ amethyst is the most expensive variety with its deep purple color and hinting flashes of red and blue.
Amethyst is best seen under natural light, particularly during the hours of sunset and sunrise. Artificial light such as is found in jewelry stores is too harsh.
It was also a favorite stone of high-ranking officials in the early church and nicknamed ‘the Stone of Bishops’. Kings and queens also prized it for their official jewelry, since the stone wore the royal color of purple. Up until the 18th century, the amethyst was considered on par with diamonds, emeralds and rubies. It was in the 18th century that a large amethyst deposit was discovered in Brazil, drastically and permanently lowering the price of the gem and relegating it to semi-precious status.
Economics aside, amethysts are still popular for their lively color and history.
Most people know amethyst only as being the birthstone of February, yet amethyst has interesting legends behind it. The Ancient Greeks believed that it could prevent or reduce drunkenness, and its name comes from the Greek word amethystos meaning ‘sober’. From drinking out of an amethyst cup the belief grew to simply wearing amethyst to remain sober and to battle addiction.
The legend of amethyst’s sobering properties is based on Bacchus, the god of wine, and Diana, goddess of the hunt. Bacchus was furious at mortals one day and vowed the next one to come by would be eaten by tigers. A young woman named Amethyst was traveling to worship at Diana’s temple and was the unfortunate one to cross Bacchus’ path. To prevent her death, Diana transformed her into a pillar of quartz. Bacchus, amazed at the miracle and filled with remorse, wept tears of wine which stained the statue – thus giving her the deep purple color so prized today.
It was also believed to help soldiers in battle and to serve as a precaution against poison. Its other attributed properties include controlling evil thoughts, help hunters in the capture of animals, make the wearer shrewd in business matters and as protection against thieves.
The color purple has often been associated with mysticism and so it makes sense that a purple gem would be used for treatment of the mind and spirit. Pain, headaches, insomnia, and mental disorders have all used amethysts as healing aids. The psychic powers of the amethyst were believed to include making the wearer gentle and amiable, with sweet dreams, healing, courage, and spiritual upliftment. The attributes of peace, love and happiness go well with the modern belief of February being the month of lovers.Amethyst Buyer Information
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