Amethyst comes from the Greek word AMETHYSTOS which means "not intoxicated". This was because of its color resemblance to grape wine and the belief among the ancient Greeks that this crystal had the power to keep you from getting drunk.

Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz. It comes in shades of lilac with pink undertones, lavender, deep purple plums, brownish purple and raspberry color with red and blue tones. Irradiation and trace elements of iron and/or manganese produces the color and intensity of purple.

The ideal grade for amethyst is the intensely deep purple "Siberian Amethyst." It used to be mined in Siberia but its deposits have been depleted. Instead of origin, this name now refers to the grade of color similar to the ones first found in Siberia.

Rose de France Amethyst, which is found in Brazil, Bolivia and Zambia, is another popular amethyst. Rose de France exhibits pleochroism, which means that its color change when viewed from different angles.
Amethyst is transparent to translucent with a glass-like luster or shine.

It has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale which means that it is hard enough to be made into any type of jewelry and ornate carving.

Amethyst and Citrine come from the same family of quartz of the mineral silicon dioxide. The only difference, of course, is the color. The presence of iron is the cause of the color purple and the color yellow in both Amethyst and Citrine. These two quartzes are often found together in the same place. And you rarely find them intermixed.

There is a variety of bicolor quartz that has zones of amethyst (purple) and citrine (golden yellow) in contact with one another in a single crystal. It is called ametrine which is rare and can only be found in Anahi mine in Bolivia.

Amethyst was found during the Neolithic period in 4000 BC. The legend of amethyst comes from ancient Greece where Dionysius, the god of wine, fell madly in love with a beautiful nymph. However, the goddess Diana intervened and transformed the beautiful nymph into a purple amethyst. Upon seeing this, Dionysius made a vow that those who wore amethyst would be protected from the evil influences of intoxicating wines.

Ancient Greeks had cups made from amethyst. It was their belief that drinking from such cups prevent them from getting drunk. Perhaps this should be taken metaphorically: that is to say, amethyst has the power to make you see things clearly and not be influenced by the emotions that come with intoxication and debauchery.

For this same reason Tibetans used prayer malas made from amethyst. It has been said that amethyst helps purify the mind before the start of meditation.

Jewelry pieces made from Amethyst have been discovered in the tomb of Pharaoh Djer of Egypt of the 1st Dynasty. In 1901, an arm of a person was discovered in a hole in the wall of the tomb of Pharaoh Djer. When the wrappings were removed from the arm, it had with it four bracelets each made from different minerals: such as gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and amethyst. These bracelets are now on display in the Cairo Museum.

Other important finds of Amethyst jewelry placed in burial tombs were that of King Tutankhamum and Queen Meneret were large Amethyst scarabs and anklets and other ornaments were found.

Ancient Egyptian and Etruscans made their sacred scarab amulets from amethyst. Their warriors would carry these amulets as a protection from death by the sword. This belief was still held by the soldiers of the Middle Ages who also carried with them amethyst to the field of battle, seeking the protection of amethyst.

In ancient Rome, purple was associated with nobility, power and luxury. Only royalty had the privilege to own and wear a purple robe.

In Genesis 41:42, we read: “and Pharaoh took off his ring from his hand, and put it upon Joseph's hand, and arrayed him in vestures of fine linen, and put a gold chain about his neck.”

Here perhaps the writer was thinking of an amethyst ring and purple fine linen vestures. The Robe of Purple and the Chain of Gold were colors of Dignity and Greatness among the Egyptians and Babylonians.

Early Christians associate purple with Christ. Bishops of the Catholic Church wore amethyst rings as it symbolized purity of spirit and occult understanding from Heaven. Amethyst is one of the twelve gemstones on Aaron's breastplate.

The Hebrew word for amethyst is "ahlamah” which means "dream” and it is believed that the stone helps you to achieve deep sleep and have lucid dreams and that if you dream of amethyst you will be free from harm.

In Chinese medicine, amethyst is also prescribed to get rid of bad dreams. In Chinese Feng Shui, amethyst is a powerful tool in clearing negative energy and driving away the fears of life.

Amethyst has always been looked upon as a sacred charm. The Indians also revered the stone by placing it in the Temple of Indra, the Hindu king of gods. This stone was named The Delhi Purple Sapphire but it is actually an amethyst.

This piece of jewelry was accursed when it was looted from the temple during the Indian Mutiny in 1855 by the British soldiers whom had erroneously thought that it was a large sapphire. Whoever had contact with the cursed stone either died or met with misfortune and sorrow.

This jewel was later known as the "Blasted Amethyst". Today this holy piece resides in Britain’s Natural History Museum.

Amethyst was considered a luxurious item that very few could own and possess. It was a precious gemstone comparable to diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds. Not only because of its rich purple color, which was the symbol of royalty and power in ancient times, but also due to its limited source.

From the 19th century, large deposits of amethyst were discovered in Brazil. Since then amethyst has becomes affordable and extremely popular for decorative and ornamental purposes. Even large crystal clusters and geodes are relatively common.

More mines were later found in South America, Madagascar (which produces amethyst of a high quality), North America and Africa. The top producers of amethysts are Brazil, and Zambia.

Amethyst can be heat-treated or irradiated to modify its colors. Occasionally the very dark amethyst is heat-treated to lighten its color. This natural or intentional heating can change its color to yellow which becomes citrine or pale green which is known as Prasiolite.

Amethyst can also be made in the lab. This synthetic amethyst is made to imitate the best quality amethyst. Their physical and chemical properties are so similar that it is very difficult to tell them apart.

Amethyst is the birthstone for February, the month of Cupid or Valentine’s Day. It is known as a stone of piety, sobriety and celibacy.

Amethyst is believed to be able to help people recover from radiation treatment or chemotherapy. It strengthens the immune system and alleviates headaches and clears the respiratory system.

Amethyst has been used as an alternative form of medicine with miraculous healing powers. Just as it was used in ancient Greece to prevent over-indulging in alcohol, it can also help to prevent addiction to any type of drug which includes painkillers and stimulants like coffee.

Ancient Chinese medicine prescribed ground amethyst to alleviate both physical pain and troubled mental states. Leonardo Da Vinci even wrote that “amethyst increases intelligence and gets rid of evil thoughts.”

In the Middle Ages, Europeans believed that amethyst could heal the body and sooth anger and anxiety.

Placing amethyst in the office or working environment creates a peaceful and harmonious space and is a great bridge between employer-employee, and customer-employee relationships.

Amethyst is believed to cure weak vision, color-blindness, and give prophetic dreaming and to enhance memory.

Since ancient times Amethyst has been the symbol of the highest degree of spirituality. It has a tremendous power to oppose evil, not only in the mind but also as a spiritual force, and the evil of others. It also had the power to oppose drunkenness and the sins of over-indulgence.

Amethyst has always been used as a protection stone against psychic attacks or witchcraft, poison and evil forms of thinking. It was a semi-precious stone used to secure the help of princess, high priests, people with wealth, influence and power.

Amethyst was used by seers, prophets and poets. It was believed that this lovely stone would help one in obtaining wisdom from the spirit world, and true spirituality and transformation.

It has been recommended that in order to harness its full benefits, amethyst should be worn as a ring on the middle finger of the left hand.