A variety of quartz, this gemstone has enjoyed a long history of popularity that has rarely waned. Since ancient Egypt it has been a prized stone of royalty. It was preferred by Catherine the Great of Russia and has an honored place in the crown jewels of England. It was a favored stone worn by bishops in the Middle Ages. Since the sixteenth century each new Pope is given an amethyst ring during his investiture. This ring is destroyed when the Pontiff dies and a new one is made for his successor. It was especially popular during the Renaissance. Pale-colored amethyst was occasionally called “Rose de France” and was frequently used in jewellery during the Victorian era.

This gem’s name comes from the Greek word amethustos, as well as the Latin amethystus which translates as “not drunken” or “without wine”. Throughout the ages amethyst has been hailed as a preventative for getting drunk. Goblets carved from amethyst were believed to allow drinkers to imbibe as much as they liked without suffering the after effects. It is suspected that the drinker could appear to be enjoying vast quantities of wine while actually consuming water that looked wine-colored because of the amethyst. This could also be the source of the belief that amethyst aids in overcoming alcoholism.

Amethyst bracelet

Today amethyst is commonly used in crystal work to transform body energy into the spiritual realm. A gemstone of change, amethyst is a general healer, spiritual tool and a stone of wisdom. It is good for calming the mind and attracts good luck, as well as love. Amethyst is a general healer.Several versions of a Greek myth tell of a young woman named Amethyst who, while on her way to pay tribute to the Goddess Diana, is set upon by tigers dispatched by an angry Dionysus (or Bacchus). Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of white quartz to protect her from the tigers’ claws. One version of the story tells that the remorseful tears of Dionysus (which were wine, of course) fell on the statue and turned it into a purple quartz. The other version merely states that a less charitable Bacchus poured wine over the statue. This story could be the root of the belief in amethyst’s powers of protection.

Color(s) - Pale lilac to deep purple.

Associations - Pisces; third-eye chakra; Jupiter, Pluto, Neptune; yin/yang.

Uses - balance/spiritual growth; wisdom; protection/good luck; helps manifest change.