Amethysts are the official birthstones for the month of February as named by the American Association of Jewelers in 1912 as well the birthstone for the Pisces Zodiac sign. It is traditionally given as a gift on the fourth, sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversaries. Amethysts are the most valuable members of the quartz family. These whimsical gemstones also happen to be the most popular selling gemstone in the marketplace.
Now, to be called amethyst the quartz must display a purple hue. The amount of iron found in the clear quartz affects the depth of purple the amethyst will display. However, they range in color from a deep purple to pale lavender, they are even found in hues of mauve. Unlike many gemstones, the value of this gem does not entirely depend on carat, cut and clarity. In fact, an amethyst value is largely dependent on its color. The most expensive amethysts display a deep purple hue with flecks of the color rose. Amethysts rank a number 7 on the Mohs scale and can be found inside alluvial deposits and geodes worldwide in crystalline as well as massive forms. However, the most popular sources of amethyst are mined in Zambia in Africa and Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia in South America.
The name amethyst is derived from the Greek word amethustos which literally translates into the words not drunken. The ancient Greeks believed that drinking wine from a cup made from amethyst would prevent one from becoming intoxicated. Some historians have theorized that, because of its color, an amethyst cup could have water poured in it and have the illusion of being wine. Thus, anyone who drank from it thought they were drinking wine when it was actually water. Historians have also thought this may the reason why amethysts were thought to aid its owner with addictions.
An ancient Greek legend attempts to explain how the amethyst got its purple color. Dionysus was the Greek god of wine and mischief. He became angry with Artemis, a Lunar goddess and virgin huntress. He sent a pack of tigers after a maiden, named Amethyst, who was attending Artemis’s shrine. In order to save Amethyst, Artemis turned her into clear, sparkling quartz. In a fit of rage over what Artemis had done, Dionysus poured a cup of wine over the statue, giving the quartz a purple color.
The amethyst is thought to aid its owner in meditation and allow its owner to increase their ability to put new ideas into action. It is believed to serve as a balancing power between its owners physical, intellectual and emotional states. Many cultures believe that amethyst can help heal the owner with headaches, insomnia and hearing disorders. This gemstone is often used to help strengthen one’s immune system in general. Amethysts provide their owner with mental strength and stability. Thus, many ancient cultures would wear amethyst amulets into battle.
Historically, many business owners would have some type of amethyst amulet in their office, as it is thought to assist one during a tough business decisions. Thus, having the ability bringing its owner good fortune. In the Chinese philosophy of Feng Shui, amethysts are believed to amplify the wealth angle and focus the energy on receiving and giving material wealth. The rich color of amethysts has long been a symbol of royalty. Even the British Crown Jewels feature these alluring gems.
Amethysts are widely sought after by both jewelers and consumers, not only for their beauty, but also because of their availability. These alluring gems are a great way to add luxury to your jewelry without having to pay an expensive price.