Amethyst

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Etymology: amethyst (n.)

violet-colored quartz, late 13c., amatist, from Old French ametiste (12c., Modern French améthyste) and directly from Medieval Latin amatistus, from Latin amethystus, from Greek amethystos "amethyst," noun use of an adjective, literally "not intoxicating; not drunken," from a- "not" + methyskein "make drunk," from methys "wine," from PIE root *medhu- "honey; mead" (see mead (n.1)).

The stone had a reputation among the ancients for preventing drunkenness; this was perhaps sympathetic magic suggested by its wine-like color. When drinking, people wore rings made of it to ward off the effects. The spelling was restored in early Modern English.

Birthstone: February

Anniversary: 33rd wedding anniversary

Mohs Scale: 7

Refractive

Index: 1.54-1.55

Geography: Brazil, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, Siberia, Canada, India, Bolivia, and Argentina and in the U.S.; most of the Amethyst comes from Zambia.

The name Amethyst comes from he Greek work ἀμέθυστος, meaning “not intoxicated.” It is the birthstone for the month of February, this semiprecious gem has been adorned by the famous, the fabulous and the fashionable for centuries, and is also a popular gift to give for Valentine’s Day! It is a commonly found variety of quartz and comes in tones of lavenders and purples. It is found all over the world, and can occur in various intensities with the most sought and expensive, being a deep purple that is referred to as “Deep Siberian.” 

Amethyst takes its name from a story in Greek Mythology. There are many versions of this story in which the god Bacchus/Dionysos, in all attempts to persuade the goddess Diana to spend a drunken evening with him, when she refuses, he turns to a nymph named Amethyst, who begs Diana to aid her in keeping her chastity at all costs, to which Diana responds by turning Amethyst into a clear quartz crystal. Bacchus, drunken and angry about his rejections, pours his wine over the stone, tinting it purple. This served as a reminder to him to take note of his intoxicated advances, as they may turn out to be unreasonable. This is why Amethyst has become the gem of sobriety. It is often carved to function as wine glasses and vessels through out history, believed to keep the drinker from becoming more intoxicated than what they would have if not using the vessel. 

 Left: A gorgeous white and yellow gold filigree dinner ring from the late teens, set with an oval amethysts and surrounded with a strand of seed pearls. Right: A 1920's white gold and amethyst filigree dinner ring.

Left: A gorgeous white and yellow gold filigree dinner ring from the late teens, set with an oval amethysts and surrounded with a strand of seed pearls. Right: A 1920's white gold and amethyst filigree dinner ring.

In history, amethyst has also had moments of importance with royalty that used purple to signify their station or familial connections. In christian folklore, the amethyst is referred to as the stone of St. Matthew in the stones of the apostles, and is often given to or worn by people with that namesake or use him as a patron saint. It has also been used for prayer across many religions, from buddhism, to catholicism, beads made of the purple quartz have been used in malas and rosaries. It is also the stone most commonly associated with the crown chakra, a metaphorical energy wheel focused on during meditation, stemming from the Vedas, written in India approximately 1000 b.c. The amethyst stone is also the gem for the zodiac of Pisces. Amethyst is also the stone for the guardian angel Adnachiel, and worn when asking for assistance and guidance with seeking the truth. 

In the realm that we deal in here at Victoriana, we see a lot of amethysts ranging from the Georgians, all the way up through all eras and styles to this very day. It is set in all metals, and is cut in nearly ever imaginable shape and style. The Victorian designers often times carved forms of stars, leafs or flowers, from the center of the stone and painted the recesses with gold leaf, and set pearls  Due to the frequency in which we find and use amethyst in jewelry, there are more large amethysts used than almost any other gem, so it is often found in cocktail rings, large necklace pendants and as the most purple of stones, it is also used a lot with its contrasts, yellow stones, and blue and red stones.