The name Amethyst translates in Greek to, “not drunken”. But before you write this one off as “not for you off due to your Friday night Pinot habit”, you should note that this potentially odd name comes from that time when angry Greek God Bacchus poured one out for his fallen homie, turning a clear crystal purple with the sweet nectar of the gods.
Those ancient philosophers could have been onto something with the belief that it could spare you from public drunkenness. Maybe its time Amethyst replaced a penis straw as the Hen’s Night gift du jour…
The History of Amethyst
According to mythology, Amethyst was a young virgin who became the object of the wrath of Bacchus after he had a few two many red wines. Bacchus had vowed to descend a hoard of tigers upon the first person that crossed his path (who hasn’t done something similar when under the influence though, amiright?). Amethyst was on her way to give thanks at the shrine of the god Diana, when she happened upon Bacchus. Before the tigers could eat Amethyst, she was saved by Diana, who turned her into a clear crystal (Quartz).
When Bacchus realised he’d been a drunk f*ckwit, he felt remorse for his actions. Bacchus’ tears dripped into his goblet of red wine, the goblet overturned, and the red wine spilled all over the white rock, saturating it until it became the purple Quartz that is now known as Amethyst.
Purple has long been considered the colour of royalty, so Amethysts frequently make appearances in royal and religious jewellery. Buddhists believe that Amethyst enhances meditation, and the gem is often used for Tibetan prayer beads.
Amethyst has other religious connotations, as well. It was one of the twelve stones that adorned the breastplate of the high priest Aaron (Exodus 39). During the Middle Ages, Amethyst stood for piety and celibacy and was therefore worn by members of the Catholic Church clergy and was used to adorn crosses. It is even thought that the breastplate of the high priest of Israel was adorned with an amethyst as its ninth stone.
Until the 19th century Amethysts were considered as valuable and expensive as Emeralds, Sapphires and Rubies, but after a large deposit of Amethyst was discovered in Brazil, the value of this striking stone somewhat diminished.
Amethysts come in colours ranging from deep purple to the palest shades of pastel lavender and even pink. Its lavender to violet shade is the result of iron and aluminium deposits, as well as natural irradiation.
And with a score of 7 on the Mohs hardness scale, Amethyst is strong enough for rings and daily wear (however, some care should be taken to protect it from scratching by rough materials).
What is Amethyst used for?
Ancient angry gods and public intoxication notwithstanding, the February birthstone’s healing properties are plentiful. Its purifying energy is linked to cleansing the mind of negative thoughts and releasing addictive behaviours. It’s also helpful in making a clear connection between planes, making it excellent for meditation and lucid dreaming. Amethyst is used to open one’s channels to telepathy, past life regression, clairaudience and clairvoyance and communication with angels.
Amethyst healing properties are especially useful in regards to work-related stress, because the stone is also associated with abundance; therefore relieving stress while emanating prosperity. The Amethyst properties, which facilitate intuition and communication, can also be applied to increased work effectiveness.
The Amethyst crystal is said to aid creative thinking and spiritual awareness. It is also a protective stone and thought to reduce nightmares. So, rather than watching “one more episode” on Netflix next time insomnia stripes, try placing amethyst stones underneath your pillow before you go to bed and give into the peace and calm this stunning stone can bring.
Using this Pantone Colour of the Year hued stone to decorate the home is a choice many make for its good looks alone. Aside from the fact that an amethyst in the family room can assist in familial bonding and in the office can bring intuition for making tough decisions and assist in stress-relief for long working days, its uplifting energy can really help tie a room together.