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The name "amethyst" comes from the Greek meaning "not drunken," and Amethyst has long been considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness. Wine goblets were often carved from it, and the gemstone still symbolizes sobriety to this day.

The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from the Greeks. Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal he encountered. After, creating tigers to carry out his wish, unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana appeared. But Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from Dionysus' tigers. At the sight of the beautiful statue, Dionysus is said to have wept tears of wine, staining the quartz purple and creating the gem amethyst.

The color purple is traditionally the color of royalty and amethyst has been used since the dawn of history to adorn the rich and powerful monarchs and rulers. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.

Amethyst is mentioned in the Bible as one of the 12 stones adorning the breastplate of the high priests of Yahweh. Because amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, it was an important ornament of Catholic and other churches of the Middle Ages. It was considered to be the stone of bishops, who still often wear amethyst rings. In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it. Amethyst is the birthstone for February.

Were not for its widespread availability, amethyst would be very expensive. Different localities produce unique varieties of amethyst, and experts can often identify the source mine of a particular amethyst 's origin. Amethyst may be found throughout the world, with notable western hemisphere occurrences in Canada, Brazil, Uruguay, Ontario, Vera Cruz, Mexico, Guerrero, Maine, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and Colorado.

Citrine is a yellow-to-orange quartz gemstone variety that is rare in nature but is often created by heating Amethyst. Most commercial citrine is made in this manner.

HISTORICAL INFORMATION AND USES

Amethyst has been used as gemstones and other ornamental objects for thousands of years. The early Greeks believed that amethyst would protect one from the effects of drunkenness when consuming alcohol. A possible explanation for this unusual virtue being given to amethyst is that when water is poured into a cup fashioned of amethyst, it would have the appearance of wine yet could be drunk without experiencing wine's normal inebriative effect.

In ancient cultures, amethyst amulets were worn as antidotes against poison, to dispell sleep, as protection against harm in battle and to sharpen one's wits. In medieval times, amethyst was still credited with protecting one from the effects of drunkenness, both of the cup and also from the intoxicating effects of being in love. The wearing of amethyst was also known to protect soldiers from harm and give them victory over their enemies, and assist hunters with the capture of wild animals.

The astrological signs of amethyst are Pisces, Virgo, Aquarius and Capricorn. Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February. Amethyst is the symbolic gemstone for the 17th wedding anniversary.

Purple has long been considered a royal color so it is not surprising that amethyst has been so much in demand during history. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Amethyst, transparent purple quartz, is the most important quartz variety used in jewelry.

Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.

Because amethyst was thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, amethyst was very important in the ornamentation of Catholic and other churches in the Middle Ages. It was, in particular, considered to be the stone of bishops and they still often wear amethyst rings.

In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.

The Greek work "amethystos" basically can be translated as "not drunken." Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it! The gemstone still symbolizes sobriety.

Amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.

Amethyst is mined in Canada (Northwestern Ontario) Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina, as well as in Zambia, Namibia and other African countries.

Generally, amethyst from South America tends to be available in larger sizes than African amethyst but amethyst from Africa has the reputation for having better, more saturated, color in small sizes. Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, is also mined in Australia.

Amethyst is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy shapes. Large fine stones may be sold in free sizes but generally amethyst is cut in standardized dimensions.