Amethyst is one of the most beautful semi-precious gemstones and has been popular throughout history. Here you will find lots of interesting information about this stone. You can see the many earrings available on this site by clicking the images and can go the my Amethyst page by clicking here.
What is Amethyst?
Amethyst is a transparent (usually) member of the quartz family of minerals, ranging in colour from a lavender-pink to a deep dark purple. It gets its lovely purple from iron impurities without which it would be completely clear. It is a hard and durable gemstone with a rating of 7 on the MOHS scale, making it perfect for the carving of figurines and making jewellery.
How does Amethyst form?
Amethysts form as hexagonal crystals in geodes, some of which can be huge.
Where does Amethyst come from?
For a long time sources of Amethyst were rare, making it about as valuable as Emerald, but over the past three centuries many sources of this gemstone have been discovered making it much more affordable. Amethyst is currently found in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Africa, United States, Siberia, Canada, Australia, France, Russia, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Zambia, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Sri Lanka, Tanzania.
Where did the name Amethyst come from?
The name, "Amethyst," comes from the Greek word, "Amethystos," meaning "not drunken." This is because, throughout history, it has been said to ward off drunkenness. If a Roman wanted to drink, but remain sober, he might have put a piece of Amethyst in the bottom of his glass so that he would remain clear headed while his drinking partners succumbed to alcohol!
What is a geode?
A geode is a hollow rock formation in which the hexagonal Amethyst Crystals form. The word “geode” comes from the Greek word meaning “shape of the World” – proof that the Ancient Greeks knew the Earth isn’t flat! Geodes come in all sorts of shapes and are often cut in half to reveal the Amethyst within. Tall, pointed geodes are called “cathedrals” and long tubular geodes are called “caves”. Most of the Amethyst geodes in the world are found in Brazil and Uruguay.
Amethyst Geodes are formed when gas bubbles in lava try to rise to the surface but can't due to fast-cooling, thickening lava at the top. The trapped bubbles form hollow cavities. Water that includes traces of silica and minerals below the lava is forced up, penetrating the hollow cavities. Over millions of years, crystals begin to grow inside the cavities according to what minerals were in the water.
To extract Amethyst Geodes from the earth, miners create cave tunnels in the lava flows. Then, they drill into the cave walls and insert a small camera so that they can spot geodes behind the walls. When one is found, they carefully break down the wall to reveal the geodes. The largest Amethyst Cathedral in the world is called the Empress of Uruguay. It is almost eight feet tall and weighs over 5000 pounds.
Are there any Amethyst Traditions?
As Amethyst has been prized throughout history there are several traditions that relate to Amethyst. Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for the month of February. It is also the stone which is associated with the sixth (and sometimes the seventeenth) wedding anniversary and it is also the birthstone associated with the zodiac sign, Pisces.
Amethyst can fade.
The lovely purple colour of Amethyst can slowly fade if exposed to prolongued sunlight. Wearing it should not be a problem, but don’t leave it lying in the sun on the windowsill for years on end!
We have loved Amethyst for a long time.
Amethyst has been used for many thousands of years in many different ways with evidence that people have used it as far back as 25,000 B.C.E. Amethyst was called the "Gem of Fire" in ancient times because it was thought to contain fire energy, an energy that is creative, passionate, and spiritual.
Amethyst was known as "Hemag" in Ancient Egypt when it was worn as heart-shaped amulets during burial ceremonies. Egyptians also wore Amethyst for protection during travel.
Amethyst has always been highly valued by the Catholic Church and has been used in the rings worn by Bishops and Cardinals right to the present day.
It wasn’t always semi-precious.
Prior to the 19th century, Amethyst was a precious stone since it was as rare as Emerald and Ruby stones. Once large deposits of Amethyst were found in Brazil, Amethyst was downgraded to a semi-precious stone. For this reason, Amethyst is a stone of royalty and has therefore been used in crowns, scepters, royal regalia and jewelry by the Royal families of Europe down the ages.
Amethyst in Folklore
Over the centuries, a good deal of folklore has grown up around Amethyst including
Amethyst was known as a "Stone of Sobriety," because it was thought that it helped reduce drunkenness and overindulgence.
· It was used by priests and clergymen to control evil thoughts.
· Amethyst was used to protect soldiers and help them to be victorious in war.
· Amethyst was used in Peru for protection against witchcraft. The ceremony included engraving the name of the sun and moon on the Amethyst stone and hanging it around their neck with a baboon's hair or a swallow's feather.
· It was used in astrology to help align planetary influences.
· It was (and still is) placed under pillows to improve sleep and reduce nightmares.
· Amethyst was used as a love spell. They would speak the name of the person they loved into an Amethyst stone and it was thought that it would summon their love, even if they were committed to another.
· Amethyst was said to lighten in color when placed near an attacker.
· Amethyst was engraved with a bear image to send demons away.
· The goddesses Artemis and Diana are associated with Amethyst.
Healing Benefits of Amethyst
Many people believe Amethyst has healing properties. I don’t share these beliefs (if you find a strange lump go see a doctor), but I have listed them here for information.
Amethyst is an extremely versatile stone with almost limitless benefits, but the most popular healing properties of Amethyst include:
· Intuition and psychic abilities
Amethyst is often used to assist with insomnia and nightmares. It soothes and calms the body, mind, and spirit. Its calming qualities provide us with natural stress relief.
Amethyst is a highly vibrational crystal that can help us raise our vibration. Amethyst optimizes the third eye and crown chakras, which improves our intuition and Divine guidance. It is often used to provide physical, emotional, and spiritual protection from negative energies and attacks.
Amethyst promotes hormone balance, which can help with weight loss, mood swings, and many other symptoms.
Due to its calming energy, Amethyst can help us with patience, peace, and selfishness. Amethyst works to improve mental focus, bring us new ideas, and improve our decision-making, goal setting, and achievement.
Amethyst contains the violet flame vibration, which transmutes negative energy into the energy of love. Amethyst is often used in meditation to clear the mind and reach deeper states of consciousness.
Fortunaearrings is a handmade jewellery store featuring a wide range of unique earrings made of gemstones and sterling silver. As well as gemstone earrings which will appeal to the gemstone collector, you will also find a range of earrings made of Venetian glass lampworked at my Devon workshop. See my full handmade jewellery portfolio by clicking the shop link at the top of this page.