Gemstone of the Month: Amethyst
February’s birthstone, rich purple amethyst, has been favored throughout the world for many centuries. The naturally occurring form of purple quartz crystal, amethyst has a Mohs hardness of 7 and is most often found in geodes. Amethyst deposits occur all over the world, including in the United States, Brazil and eastern Europe. The most highly prized amethysts are from Russia and Siberia, which may explain Catherine the Great’s predilection for collecting jewelry encrusted with the sparkling purple stone. We are graced with a great many myths and legends surrounding amethyst, including the tale of Dionysus. He fell in love with a mortal, who scorned his drunkenness and chose to worship the goddess Diana instead. Diana turned the mortal, Amethyst, into a clear crystal quartz to protect her from the angry Dionysus. In his grieving for the loss of the beautiful Amethyst, Dionysus spilled some wine on the crystal quartz, staining it purple. Forever after, purple quartz was to be called amethyst in her honor.
Interestingly, the name amethyst comes from Greek, meaning “not intoxicated.” Throughout Greece, it was believed that drinking wine from an amethyst goblet would protect you from intoxication. A modern spin on this belief uses amethyst crystals to assist in recovering from addictions.
Amethyst has a long tradition of association with piety and spirituality. Roman Catholic bishops wear a large amethyst ring to symbolize their purity. Tibetan monks make prayer malas from amethyst beads, which are sacred to the Buddha. Even the great scientist and artist, Leonardo Da Vinci was a fan of amethyst. He said, “Amethyst dissipates evil thoughts and quickens the intelligence.” Other qualities attributed to amethyst include the inducement of mental clarity, calm and stress relief. It is believed to reduce insomnia and prevent nightmares, cure headaches and nervous disorders and increase psychic abilities. Amethyst is associated with the crown chakra, which is our connection to the spiritual world.
Bead World offers a wide range of amethyst beads. Come share in a piece of history with this celebrated traditional gemstone.