A guide for the history, meaning, metaphysical uses, purposes, crystal healing, and properties of the legendary Amethyst stone.
Stone for Power Within
Have you ever looked at a beautiful amethyst geode and thought of it to be as gorgeous as a field of lavenders? This stone has stuck around for centuries and has always uplifted people. What is more, it has done so while looking stunning. Curious as to what amethyst has meant to people? Then let us dive into the great world of amethyst.
Amethyst Pronunciation: /æməθɪst/ (am-a-this-t)
History of the Amethyst Stone
The stone has always been given praise for its beauty. Praise, the proper word for a stone that was called by some "Venus's eyelid." Indeed, a good tyrian Amethyst geode had nearly unmatched beauty for most of its history. In fact, it was up in the ranks with rubies, sapphires, and even diamonds. It was, and still is, a cardinal gem of the purple variety. Even though more deposits have been found and lessened the rarity and value of amethyst, one only needs to take a glance at the stone to see why it reigned among kings, queens, and gods. A lot of people understood this, as Pliny the Elder wrote that many believed it would guarantee access to the king. That is less likely to be interpreted as a mystical property, rather owning amethyst was a symbol of status. In any case, the mystical properties were clear: many believed that wearing this stone would offer protection from inebriation. It was also believed that it could protect users from locust attacks.
George Frederick Kunz so happened to attribute amethyst to the name Arthur, a man who some consider to have been king of England at one point. This could be a coincidence. Though given amethyst's relationship to royalty, and the colour purple's relationship to royalty, this could have been intentional. Kunz also details the birthstones. Amethyst is considered to be the birthstone for the month of February. In fact, has been considered so for centuries among the Jews, Romans, Poles, Russians, and Italians. Alternatives were pearl and hyacinth, but were significantly less popular than amethyst in regards to birthstones. Kunz also writes of Greek literature, and that in a so-called gem city, monumental pieces of amethyst stood as altars. In short, amethyst has been, is, and always will be, loved by many for its beauty.
Egyptians and Amethyst
Egyptians used amethyst primarily for jewelry since their predynastic period. It is possible that they mined their amethyst, but sources indicate that this was around their “Middle Kingdom” period. During this period, there was considerable mining for the gemstone. By the New Kingdom period, however, amethyst was less common, maybe caused by scarcity. By the time of the Romans, amethyst became popular once more. The stones mined in Egypt could vary in hue greatly. Some were a deep purple, such as those found in Wadi el-Hudi. Or, they lack color almost entirely, such as those found in Gebel el-Asr. Since amethyst was hardly used outside of jewelry, it isn’t common to find them in other products from Egypt.
In the Middle Kingdom period, amethyst was called hesmen. The Middle Kingdom’s mining settlements were guarded. Amethyst, when used for carvings, often took the form of a scarab. Beads were especially popular too. Gold was used for plating scarab carvings.
The Mediterranean and Amethyst
Greeks during the Bronze Age interacted with amethyst and other gemstones often. Some gemstones were important for spiritual and religious affairs. But many were simply used in jewelry. Amethyst could be laid in cups, tombs, or used rings, necklaces, etc.
The Byzantines were fond of the stone, much like the Egyptians. Many Byzantine necklaces were adorned with the purple stone. Similar to the Egyptians, beads were quite popular. Indeed, amethyst was likely imported from Egypt, along with other countries, to the Byzantine Empire. There is evidence to suggest that the amethyst brought to the Mediterranean was also from the southern regions of Asia. Over time, the commonality of amethyst beads declined.
The Americas and Amethyst
The Maya also worked with amethyst. The minor deity Ix Tub Tun would “spit” gemstones and was the goddess of those who worked with jade and amethyst. The Aztec had talented craftsman who worked with a variety of metals and gemstones, including amethyst, to produce high-end jewels and accessories. Unlike other cultures that made amethyst jewelry first and other products second, the Aztecs had plenty lapidary art of amethyst, along with other gemstones.
Amethyst is a beautiful stone that promotes power from within yourself, attracts power where it is needed in your life, provides calming & soothing energies, protects against malicious curses, hexes, psychic attacks. Amethyst is also a stone for those who are in love and who want to strengthen the bonds of love between themselves and their lover. Amethyst resonates with your inner balance which will calm any temperament or mood issues and provide a fair & balanced atmosphere for you. It is a wonderful stone to work with during times of stress, contemplation, or meditation. You can also place the stone under your pillow or bed to provide a more restful night of sleep.
Amethyst is a purple stone that can be from a lavender to deep purple in color. Amethyst can be banded, translucent or clouded. Some pieces of amethyst are purple in color and have fractures or lines within the translucent stone.
Why is it Purple?
Amethyst is a variety of quartz. What makes it purple, exactly? Amethyst is purple because of the gamma irradiation. That settles that, right? Well, mostly. Read more about the controversy of Amethyst that was sparked by social media.
Aside from those previously mentioned, amethyst has some neat metaphysical properties. You might ask "what does amethyst do?" Amethyst is a calming and soothing stone that is capable of providing protection against more malicious hexes and curses. As a stone that deals with power within, amethyst is a great stone for correcting, or maintaining, the balance within you. Amethyst meaning:
- Stone of Protection
- Stone for Power Within
- Stone for Balance
- Stone for Dreams
- Stone for Meditation
Amethyst healing properties echo those of the past. Balance and temperament are likely derived from the quality of sobriety attributed to the stone. Protection, from the fact that it was believed to offer protection to soldiers and grant them a victory in war. The dream aspect could come from the Breastplate of Aaron and the relationship with amethyst, called "aḥlamah." This name for amethyst could have influenced the belief that the stone did have dream related properties, as the name is likely derived from the word "halom," which has been translated into dreams.
The properties of protection, balance, power from within, dreams, and it use during meditation are all wonderful and can apply to just about everyone. It is no surprise that the stone is loved by so many.
The Wrap Up
Amethyst is a beautiful stone with a rich history and is packed with some fairly neat properties, some of which are related to that history. Amethyst's stunning purple comes from gamma irradiation. We love it, wear it, and have even used cups with the stone embedded into it. Maybe the stone doesn't stop drunkenness after all, as a truly amazing piece will make you blackout!
Crystals and gemstones are nature's true beauties, but they are not a substitute for seeking professional medical, legal, health, or financial advice. Crystals and gemstones are to be used in conjunction with any professional care you are receiving and do not provide healing, cures, or other remedies modern medicine can provide. The information provided in our listings with regard to the powers of crystals and gemstones are all derived from personal & professional experience with crystals & gems as well as ancient wisdom and texts documenting knowledge gained from civilizations around the world. They are not backed by the FDA or scientific/government resources. Our crystals & gemstones are not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or malady. Our crystals and gemstones are also not a replacement for seeking professional legal advice, financial advising, or any other field of professional expertise. Crystals and gemstones are intended to be appreciated for their natural power and beauty, and used alongside modern, professional methods.
Aguilar-Moreno, Manuel. "Aztec Art." Foundation for the Advancement of Mesoamerican Studies Web site: http://www. famsi. org/research/aguilar/Aztec_Art_Bib. pdf 5 (2008)
Drauschke, Jörg. Byzantine jewellery? Amethyst beads in east and west during the early Byzantine period. British Museum, 2010.
Harrell, James A., et al. "The Ptolemaic to Early Roman Amethyst Quarry at Abu Diyeiba in Egypt's Eastern Desert." Bulletin de l’Institut Français d’Archéologie Orientale 106 (2006): 127-162.
Serpico, Margaret, et al. Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology. United Kingdom, Cambridge University Press, 2000.
Townsend Vermeule, Emily, and Vermeule, Emily. Greece in the Bronze Age. United Kingdom, University of Chicago Press, 1964.
Sparavigna, Amelia Carolina. "Ancient Egyptian seals and scarabs." Available at SSRN 2823472 (2016).
Spence, Lewis. "The Gods of the Maya." The Open Court 1926.2 (1933): 1