Amethyst has long been deeply entrenched in mythical lore, admired by royalty since the days of Alexander the Great and was once considered a more precious stone than a diamond! However, this very special February birthstone has many more qualities than meets the eye: known to provide personal empowerment and inner strength to those who wear it and a symbol of strength and wit, amethyst has multiple claims to mystical powers.
Ranking 7 on the Mohs scale (a scale of hardness based on the ability of one mineral to scratch another), amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz mineral species; usually a cool and bluish purple tone, or a reddish purple that’s referred to as ‘raspberry’. Here are our favourite 5 facts about amethyst:
- The name ‘amethyst’ is from the Greek word ‘amethystos’, meaning ‘a remedy against drunkenness’. Legend has it that an angry Bacchus, God of Wine, proclaimed that the first person he encountered would be devoured by tigers. Unfortunately, this happened to be a maiden named Amethyst who, when seeking protection from Diana, Goddess of The Hunt, was turned into a clear, white crystal. Bacchus, feeling bad, poured the juice of his grapes over the stone as an offering, giving Amethyst it’s lovely purple hue.
- It was quickly established that amethyst would keep a wearer clear headed and quick witted in battle and business affairs. In fact, Italian astronomer and astrologer (1451 - 1550) wrote that amethyst quickens intelligence and removes evil thoughts.
- An amethyst is also the gemstone for sixth wedding anniversaries.
- Until the 19th century, Russia was the major source of amethyst. Today the amethyst is predominantly found in Africa and South America. In fact, hidden in the Pantanal wetlands, the Bolivian Anahí mine, is both a prominent source of amethyst and holds a fascinating history. Discovered by a Spanish conquistador in the 1600’s, the mine was given to him as a dowry when he married Anahí, princess from the Ayoreo tribe. Forgotten for three centuries, it wasn’t rediscovered until the 1960’s!
- In keeping with February’s most well known celebration, Valentine’s Day, it is said that St. Valentine wore an amethyst intaglio signet ring carved with an image of Cupid.
Did you know? You can customise many of our pieces with your choice of stone, including amethyst. Shop and customise your piece here or contact us to talk about incorporating amethyst into your unique, handmade heirloom.