Amethyst is a semi precious stone from the family of quartz. Although available in nature almost abundantly, its deep violet hue makes this one a treasured gem. Amethyst is widely used in stylish jewellery collections. The name ‘amethyst’ is derived from Koine Greek. Splitting up the word, ‘amethystos’ means”not” and ‘methysko’ translates to “intoxicate”, because the stone was said to be a remedy for drunkenness. The local name for amethyst is ‘jamuniya’. The gem is called ‘Achlama’ in Hebrew and relates to dreaming because the stone is known to induce dreams and powerful visions. ‘Al-Halma’, its name in Arabic too, has a similar translation.
The gem can be rightly called the protector, and across cultures, we have seen evidences of this stone being used to heal, safeguard and nurture.
- Greek wine chalices were carved off from amethyst, and Greeks even wore amethysts around their necks to protect themselves from intoxication.
- It is also believed that amethyst has the ability to safeguard its wearers against seduction.
- Other than Greeks, history talks about Egyptians using amethyst in large quantities. They were used in an antique technique of intaglio engraving, which is carving figurines into raw crystals. This involved delicate work and high precision and were treasured pieces that belonged to royalty.
- Our Tibetan friends who worship Buddha also make use of this magic crystal to make prayer beads.
- Did you know that the amethyst mined in winter from the Urals of Russia are of the finest quality? The violet is so fine that Empress Catherine the Great wore a necklace made out of these amethysts. Their shine came to be described as ‘gleaming by night like red fire’.
- The colour purple is a mark of the royals and was worn by kings, Bishops and the richest and the most powerful rulers. Incidentally, purple is also the colour of Amethyst. Episcopal rings, worn by clergymen like Bishops, used to have this purple stone to represent their abstinence from drinking.
- Philosophers have also written about eagles placing this stone in the nest to ward off danger.
- With its powers to bring tranquility and to heal the body, European soldiers were known to wear amethyst pendants to war to keep good health and to maintain mental stability during trying times.
Amethyst is a significant stone when it comes to astrology and energy balance of the body. Called the ‘gem of fire’, it is associated with passion and fire. These are powerful energy sources and when used the right way, they can help immensely in calming the body and enlightening the soul. A familiar sight of amethyst is in the geode form, especially used in spiritual practices. It is a piece of rock that can be broken off to reveal the inner amethyst, like a cove. These are fitted with a base and are used as home decor.
The stone is a companion of the star sign Pisces. It is also the birthstone of those born in February. This stone has no ill effects and can only bring good fortune and happiness to the wearer. It also boasts of unique healing powers and aids in spiritual focus. It is preferred that amethyst be worn in constant contact with the skin. Thus, the best jewellery options are pendants, necklaces and bracelets.
Some of the well known effects of amethyst are:
- Motivates and helps to achieve the set goals.
- Calming and relaxing vibe.
- It helps to balance the spiritual tone of the person and enhances a god fearing nature.
- Amethyst is a chakra enhancer and assists in defence against psychic issues, as it is a part of the crown chakra.
- Protection from ailments to the backbone, shoulder bones and arthritis, in general.
It is a stone to be treasured at home. Amethyst is known to bring harmony and a general sense of well being in the family.
It is known by many nick names like ‘Bishop’s stone’ or ‘the stone of St. Valentine’, thus symbolising undying love and faith.
Fun fact, amethyst is the name of the colour as well as the stone. It is a member of the quartz family, and the rich violet colour is formed mainly due to irradiation and the addition of trace elements and iron impurities.
Where to find them?
Highest quality amethysts are mined from Siberia, Brazil, Bolivia, Canada and Sri Lanka. Amethyst of the highest grade is called ‘Deep Siberian’. The ‘Rose de France’ is in a light lavender shade. Once considered unimpressionable, now it is very popular due to heavy marketing of this kind.
The gems and cutting are graded accordingly, i.e., Serbian, Uruguayan and Bahain, representing the best, medium and lower quality. The stone ranges in colour from a light sparkling lavender to a deep and mystifying violet. The colours are uneven in distribution, therefore a brilliant round cut is best to maintain evenness and colour quality.
Occasionally, a rare occurrence of a mixture of amethyst and citrine (a yellow coloured crystal) is found in the deposits known as ametrine (a combination of the two names). This crystal is one of a kind, a faded mix of both, a transition from amethyst to citrine, giving a dual tone to a single crystal. These are currently only found in the mines of Anahi in Bolivia.
Till the 18th century, amethyst was considered a cardinal gemstone, and was lined up as precious and rare stones. But large reserves being discovered in many parts of the world depleted its value. Still, pure and high grade amethyst is not so common, thus the price depends on the quality and intensity of colour.
All precious stones have back stories relating to their hue or powers and so does this purple beauty. Set in ancient Greece, legend has it that Bacchus, the Greek god of wine, was insulted over a petty issue. In his anger, he cursed that the first person he lays his eyes on would be devoured by a tiger. Fate bought Amethyst, a vision of beauty in front of him and as the tiger was about to pounce on her. Bacchus prayed to Diana, the Goddess of hunting, and in an instant Amethyst was changed to a white rock crystal. Regretting his short temper, Bacchus poured the grape wine in his hands onto the crystal to impart it that beautiful, eye catching purple tone.
Since this stone is such a blessing to be around, let us break down the kinds of jewellery that can utilise the powers of this gemstone.
Amethyst is a stone you might not have really noticed among elaborate mixes of rubies, emeralds and diamonds that are a common sight nowadays. But your jeweller is sure to have quite some unique pieces of this brilliant stone. This purple gem looks the most elegant as a neckpiece. Usually worn as pendants, they can be set into gold or silver. They can come in different cuts, like the princess cut or tear drop cut. The modern designs include hexagonal and pentagonal flat cut amethysts that are just stunning. Also, check for geode pendants, with the crystalline structure in the stone itself, giving it a rugged and bohemian feel. Do look around for an amethyst stalactite necklace that looks like an overflowing volcano. Isn’t that just all the drama you want in life?
Girly and vibrant, that’s what these lavender hand ornaments represent. Delicate amethyst rounded stones are beaded into strings of gold to make fancy little bracelets. Amethyst stones set in a silver base and carved with floral designs are must haves.
In this era of unusual jewellery and heavy head turner ornaments, a single stoned amethyst ring is a breath of fresh air among the ordinary. Opt for radiant rectangular cuts or effervescent marquis cutting to add that edge to your jewellery. Bold is the word when it comes to semiprecious stones. Also, since amethyst is not a dark hue, you might want to select chunky rings with diamonds studded at the borders to enhance its shape and colour. You can go for rings with heavy gold work with tiny amethysts encrusted for a rich look. It is the ‘gem of love’, so heart shaped petite rings are obvious choices and make for everyday wear as well!
If you are a person with fine taste, and an eye for the different and the unusual, you will love tiny trinkets to match your minimalistic style, and amethyst earrings are your saviours. This luscious stone can add a pop of colour to your wardrobe of plain and solid colours. Pair it up with a bold amethyst pendant and you will have ladies wearing diamonds swooning over you. To show off the simple yet elegant hue, it is recommended to wear plain outfits in lighter shades like powder blue, baby pink, iced grey and their likes.
Caring for your Amethyst
- Amethyst can lose its colour if exposed to excess light. So it is recommended to store it after use in dark containers.
- Care should be taken not to drop this stone jewellery as they are brittle and have chances of breaking to pieces in case of the larger amethyst crystal being used.
- Protect from excess moisture and always clean after wearing it to prolong life.
- Can be damaged if scraped against equally hard metals.
When the world runs around investing in cliché jewellery, shine on with your own semiprecious beauties in colours unseen and unfamiliar to the jewellery world!