Amethyst derives its name from the Greek word "amethystos" meaning "not drunk" or "not intoxicated". It is one of the favorite gem-quality minerals found in the Quartz family. Its color ranges from light lilac or lavender to the deep, rich, dark purples and violets...the latter (named Siberian Amethyst) being the most sought after, especially when containing flashes of red. The lighter lilac and lavender specimens of Amethyst have been nicknamed "Rose de France" by the gem trade. Experts believe Amethyst gets its color from trace amounts of Iron (other theories attribute it to Manganese or hydrocarbons) present during the formation of the Quartz. It is stated that "as much Iron as would fit on the head of a pin can color one cubic foot of Quartz." Once revered as a precious stone, today its abundance has made it inexpensive and commonplace...although ever-
remaining a beautiful and powerful gemstone.
Amethyst is formed in silica-rich liquids deposited in gas cavities (geodes) in lava. It occurs in crystalline masses. When conditions permit, it forms hexagonal crystals that are usually grown from a base. These crystals are most often not well developed, and so are generally found as clusters of crystal points and are called Amethyst druse. Although most commonly found in geodes, Amethyst is sometimes found as a stalactite.
When heated, Amethyst loses its color, so it is best to keep these crystals from extended exposure to the sun. If heated intensely, the purple color of Amethyst will change to yellow...thus making it Citrine. Most commercial Citrine is made in this manner. When natural Citrine and natural Amethyst grow together in the same crystal (common in deposits in Bolivia), they contain alternating bands of purple and orange/yellow and have been given the obvious name Ametrine.
Another interesting form of Amethyst clusters from the Magaliesberg area of South Africa are characterized by tiny crystals that envelop the shaft of the main crystal, and have earned the names "Spirit Amethyst", "Spirit Quartz", "Cactus Quartz", "Fairy Quartz", or "Angel Quartz".
Chemistry: SiO2, Silicon Dioxide (with traces of Ferric Iron; Fe2O3)
Color: Various shades of purple, transparent to translucent.
Luster: Vitreous (Glassy).
Crystal System: Trigonal.
Crystal Habit: Macroscopic crystals occur as horizontally striated hexagonal prisms terminated by a combination of positive and negative rhombohedrons forming six sided pyramids. Amethyst often occurs as drusy masses showing only the rhobohedral terminations. It can also be massive.
Specific Gravity: 2.65
Other Characteristics: Piezoelectric.
Notable Occurrences: Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Siberia.
Best Field Indicators: Color, crystal habit, hardness and lack of cleavage.
Uses: Gemstone; ornamental stone; Amethyst glass; electronics.
The story of the origin of Amethyst comes from Greek (and later, as we see here, Roman) legends: "The god of wine, Bacchus, was insulted one day by a mere mortal. He swore that the next mortal that crossed his path, would be attacked by his fierce tigers. Along came a beautiful maiden named Amethysta. Goddess Diana turned Amethysta into a beautiful statue of Quartz to save her from the tigers' claws. Remorseful, Bacchus wept tears of wine over the stone maiden, creating a lively purple stone."
Known as the "Stone of Spirit" or the "Stone of Integrity," Amethyst has been long associated with purity and piety. It is the stone of the Buddha, and in Tibet it is popularly used in the making of prayer beads called Mala beads which are used in the practice of meditation.
Purple has long been considered a royal color, so it is no surprise that Amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels. They were also a favorite of Catherine the Great. Many Catholic bishop's rings are made of Amethyst. Beads of Amethyst have been found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England.
Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians. Egyptian soldiers wore Amethyst in battle in order to retain their courage. Among the wealthy ancient Greeks and Romans, goblets of Amethyst were made to guard against drunkenness. Shamans of several tribal societies were known to use Amethyst crystals as talismans, or objects of power. The crystals are also used in forms of natural healing, as with traditional Chinese medicine which has prescribed ground Amethyst to alleviate stomach pains or bad dreams.
Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February (Aquarius). It is also the symbolic gemstone for the 17th wedding anniversary. Recharge Amethyst under the light of the Moon.
Astrological Sign(s): Pisces, Aquarius.
Clearing and cleansing.
Connecting with Spirit.
Sharpens the mind.
*Gives physical aid in treating: Depression. Reduces stress. Calms anxiety, headaches, eye strain. Dispels negativity and clears delusion. Prevents insomnia and nightmares. Low energy. Stimulates and regulates sympathetic nervous system and endocrine glands. Digestive tract, heart, stomach, skin and teeth.
*NOTE: Stone therapy should NOT take the place of medical evaluation and procedures, and should be used merely to enhance one's health and well-being.
Other than being the most beautiful shades of the color purple - ranging from soft lavender to the darkest and richest of purples which contain flashes of red reminiscent of plump ripe heady grapes and sparkling burgundy wine. I feel Amethyst's properties have to do with the illusional qualities of intoxication...or rather, lack thereof. The Ancients did not miss the mark in their naming of Amethyst...as it does clear intoxication, in the sense that it clears the mind, allowing one to move out of the heavy and denser "intoxicating" earthbound realm into the royal and noble higher frequencies of Spirit. Hence its excellent use as a Crown or Brow Chakra stone.
Extremely calming, yet deep, this most dynamic and persuasive crystal can bring a sense of serenity and peace through its washing away of obsessive chaos, or even the perceived notion for a need of such. It helps you break through to your clearest visions, by enhancing a strength to the intellect...an ease of journey to one's center...while promoting communion with the highest realms.
So, if you are experiencing too much grounding; if you are subject to low energy; if you are weighed down with the sometimes heavy burdens of your mundane existence; if you desire to reach into the higher realms and speak to the gods (and yourSelf) in your clearest tone... Amethyst can be of great value.
Let the revered stone of Bacchus show you how you can remain clear and undiluted as you drink deeply of Spirit.
"Love Is In the Earth" ~ Melody
"The Illustrated Directory of Healing Crystals" ~ Cassandra Eason
Photo by: Patricia J. Martin
Let there be peace in the world - Where have all the flowers gone?
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