Amethyst is the most desired member of the quartz family. It can be found in shades ranging from a very deep royal purple with hints of red, to a pale pastel lilac with subtle undertones of blue. The pale colors are sometimes called “Rose de France” and are often seen set in Victorian jewelry.
The amethyst owes its fabled color to trace amounts of manganese and iron. Its purple color made it a stone of royalty for many thousands of years and is seen in the British Crown Jewels.
Before vast quantities of amethyst were discovered in Brazil, it was quite a rare gem, often commanding diamond prices! Amethyst is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy shapes and designer cuts.
Amethyst has been fashioned into gemstones and ornamental objects for thousands of years. Egyptian soldiers wore amethyst to remain calm during battle. It was believed that amethyst, carved with the symbol of the sun warded off witchcraft.
The name amethyst is derived from the Greek “amethystos” meaning “not drunken”. It was supposed by the early Greeks that drinking wine from a chalice made of amethyst, or placing an amethyst under the tongue, would enable one to drink profusely without getting drunk.
Amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and therefore important in the embellishment of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. It was deemed the stone of bishops who still often wear amethyst rings today.
The astrological signs of amethyst are Pisces, Virgo, Aquarius, and Capricorn. Amethyst is the birthstone for February. Amethyst is also the symbolic gem for the Seventeenth wedding anniversary.