Welcome to the second blog in our meet the gemstone series. This time we are getting to know the beautiful violet stone known as amethyst.
Many love this stone but not many know its full story, so get settled in with a cup of tea and read all about this popular gem — from its name’s origins to its spiritual properties and strength on the Mohs scale.
Amethyst is a type of quartz and its chemical composition is SiO2. Iron gets incorporated into the growing crystals and the process of irradiation in the iron creates the colour. The amount of iron and level of irradiation determine the final colour of each amethyst crystal.
Why is the stone called amethyst?
The word amethyst comes from the Greek word amethystos which means “not drunk”. This might seem an unusual name choice until we explain why it came to be.
The gorgeous purple shades of this gem reminded the Ancient Greeks of wine, which led them to link it to the Roman agriculture and wine god, Bacchus. According to Greek mythology, Bacchus travelled around on Earth, showing people how to create wine from grapes.
Over time, it was then suggested that the amethyst stone could protect the bearer from drunkenness and many chose to wear it for this very reason. It also adorned many drinking vessels of the time, in the hope of hangover avoidance.
What colour is amethyst?
Amethyst is such a popular stone because of its colour. The gem can be anything from a pale pink to the deepest purple, with the deeper shades being the most desirable and therefore demanding the highest price.
Full transparency to the naked eye is highly desirable in amethyst, and also fairly common. The most desirable shade is a true violet hue with no red or blue shading. Having said that, flashes of red and blue in this stone are highly sought after.
How strong is amethyst?
Amethyst has a Mohs hardness of 7, which makes it an excellent candidate for all types of jewellery.
While being robust, it can still be scratched by other items and damaged by acids and alkaline, so always remove your amethyst jewellery before taking on any household chores where it could get knocked or put in contact with chemicals.
Who does amethyst bring luck for?
If you were born in February, or shopping for someone who was, then amethyst is the lucky birthstone you’ll be looking for.
It is also the lucky stone for those born under the zodiac sign of Aquarius. It is said that amethyst can stabilise those born at this time and enhance their communicative nature.
It is said that all gemstones can bring luck and certain properties to those born under any sign. With this in mind, many people choose stones based on the benefits they offer.
This stone is said to be highly beneficial to those born under the sign of Aries in particular, as it soothes and calms them.
Additionally, the amethyst is the traditional gift for 33rd wedding anniversaries. Surprise your loved one with a gorgeous piece of jewellery bearing this stunning purple gem.
Where is amethyst found?
Amethyst is found in every continent on Earth but is most often mined in Brazil, Bolivia, Africa, Mexico, Canada, Europe, Russia, and the USA.
How big was the largest amethyst ever found?
The largest amethyst geode in the world to date is known as the Enchanted Cave. Discovered in Uruguay, South America, this geode is 120 million years old and weighs an astonishing 20,000kg.
It is 18 feet wide and large enough for a human to sit inside. The amethyst cave now resides in the Crystal Castle & Shambhala Gardens in Byron Bay, Australia, where visitors are awestruck by it daily.
What is amethyst used for?
This stone is a popular choice in all jewellery types, from rings to pendants; earrings to bracelets. Not a neutral colour, amethyst still holds a big appeal thanks to its irresistable purple tones. The amethyst also looks stunning nestled next to a sparkling diamond or two on an engagement ring.
Long considered a regal stone, the amethyst has a history of use in royal and religious pieces of jewellery. Despite its relative prevalence, it is still held dear by and admired by many — the Royal Family included.
What are the properties of amethyst?
Aside from its very name suggesting it can prevent the wearer from getting drunk, the amethyst offers a myriad of interesting properties and benefits.
Overall, it is often said that this gem promotes feelings of peace and balance in the wearer. It also offers clarity of the mind, and courage.
The world-famous artist Leonardo da Vinci felt that the amethyst stone protects against evil thoughts and amplifies intelligence.