Amethyst FEBRUARY BIRTHSTONE
has long been considered a royal color so it is not surprising that amethyst has
been so much in demand during history. Fine amethysts are featured in the
British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and
Egyptian royalty. Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important
quartz variety used in jewelry.
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.
Because amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, amethyst was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. It was, in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and they still often wear amethyst rings.
In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.
The Greek work "amethystos" basically can be translated as "not drunken." Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it! The gemstone still symbolizes sobriety.
The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from Greek myths. Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.
Amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.
Amethyst is mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina, as well as in Zambia, Namibia and other African countries.
Generally, amethyst from South America tends to be available in larger sizes than African amethyst but amethyst from Africa has the reputation for having better, more saturated, color in small sizes. Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, is also mined in Australia.
Amethyst is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy shapes. Large fine stones may be sold in free sizes but generally amethyst is cut in standardized dimensions
ROSE OF FRANCE AMETHYST
AMETHYST FACTS AND LORE
Amethyst is the official birthstone for February as adopted by the American National Association of Jewelers in 1912. It is also the birth stone for the Zodiac sign of Pisces. Amethyst is suggested as a gem to give on the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and the most valued member of the quartz family. It must be purple to be amethyst, but it can display a range of shades including deep purple, light lilac, lavender and mauve. Top quality amethyst is a deep medium purple with rose-colored flashes. Its purple color made it a stone of royalty for many thousands of years. See note about incorrectly named "green amethyst".
Amethyst can occur as crystals that are six sided on either end. It also forms as drusy which are crystalline crusts covering the host rock. It is found inside geodes and in alluvial deposits all around the world and occurs in both crystalline or massive forms. When manganese is present in clear quartz amethyst is produced, while the amount of iron contained in the specimen accounts for the depth of purple.
Mohs scale of hardness is 7.
Most amethyst gemstones on the market today are heat-treated to produce a deeper color. Heat treating is permanent and these stones will not fade over time. Unless otherwise stated, assume that any amethyst you purchase today has been heat treated to increase the depth of color. Also, note that most citrine available on the market today is actually heat treated amethyst.
Throughout history amethyst has been used to guard against drunkenness and is thought to be helpful in overcoming addiction. It has been used for hearing disorders, insomnia, headaches and other pain. Some sources suggest it is used to stabilize mental disorders.
Worn to make the wearer gentle and amiable. Amethyst powers include: dreams, healing, peace, love, spiritual upliftment, courage, psychism, protection against thieves, and happiness.
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