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amethyst University of Nebraska Lincoln

Traditional Birthstone is

amethyst University of Nebraska Lincoln

About Amethyst
Amethyst: Myth, Legend and Folklore
Care and Handling of Amethysts
Amethyst as engagement, anniversary & Zodiac gifts


About Amethyst

Amethyst, the February birthstone, derived its name from the Greek word "amethystos" which translates as sober.  In fact, the gem is thought to protect the wearer from intoxication.  People often drank from goblets made from the stone as a way to avoid intoxication.

Amethyst is a form of quartz crystal known for it's purple color ranging from a dark purple to mauve to rose to lilac to a pale lavender and almost clear. Amethyst can range from translucent to opaque.  The darker more intense translucent purple with flashes of rose is considered most rare and desirable. Amethyst is the most valuable of all quartz sold as jewelry.

polished stones and crystalThe 6-sided crystals often grow in cooling lava called geodes and natural forms of this can be found sold as natural art pieces.  The prism like crystal can grow as a long singular crystal out of rock with the point a pyramid or it can grow a crust on a rock with all the points sticking out. 

The stone is used in jewelry, other adornment, objects and art.  It can be faceted, smoothed into a polished cabochon, carved and is sometimes used in it's natural form as a crystal or in a geode.  

A favorite of royalty, amethyst was often used by the Egyptians, is found on British Crown Jewels and was  favored by Russia's Catherine the Great.  It was used to represent the Spirit of God in the robes of Jewish High Priests and was used to symbolize chastity and piety in the ornamentation of the early Catholic Church used as the stone of high-ranking clergy including a Papal ring.

Amethyst is the state gemstone of South Carolina.


Amethyst: Myth, Legend and Folklore

In Greek mythology, Amethyst was a beautiful maiden wrongly targeted for punishment by the God of Intoxication Dionysius who had been angered by a mortal.  Amethyst had been on her way to visit the temple of Diana who turned the young maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the tigers sent to kill her. 

When Dionysius saw the beautiful statue of Amethyst, he wept tears of wine, staining the crystal stature purple and creating the gem amethyst. amethyst

The connection with Dionysius may be the reason the gem is thought to protect against intoxication and was often carved into goblets to prevent drunkenness.  Egyptians also thought it could ward against the effects of poison.  

Amethyst was also thought to drive out evil spirits and protect against snakes for which reason eagles supposedly put amethysts in their nests to protect the young eaglets. 

It was thought to promote wisdom, divine revelations, stimulate the intellect and intuition and enhance psychic development and creativity.

It has been thought to heal headache pain, cure insomnia, settle q queasy stomach, help with hearing, ease mental illness and give the wearer good dreams.

There is no surprise that it is the birthstone for February since it represents love, spirituality, chastity, courage and peace. 


Care and Handling of Amethysts

Never clean amethyst in a chemical solution or mechanical cleaner unless directed so by faceted amethysta jeweler.  Be king to your amethyst with a nice bath in soapy, warm water using a soft bristle brush. 

Although amethyst is sometimes heat treated to create darker, fade-resistant color, the gems should not be exposed to heat or light.  These can make the color of the gem become paler.


Amethyst as engagement, anniversary & Zodiac gifts

Because amethyst is credited with the ability to strengthen the bond in a relationship, it makes an ideal engagement ring or anniversary gift.  It is the anniversary stone for the 4th, 6th and 17th anniversaries. 

Amethyst is also the birthstone for the zodiac sing Pisces.

Photo source:  All photos on this page came from the geology webpages of the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

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