The meaning of Amethyst jewellery – a present from the heart but a gift for the mind
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. . a present from the heart but for the mind
Amethyst is the mystical gemstone . . the stone of the mind and spirit. It is thought to have the power to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken intelligence.
In Tibet, Amethyst is sacred to Buddha;
Western mystics say that the stone helps instil the highest ideals and urges people to do what is right.
A gift of Amethyst jewellery is supposed to gives patience, balance, calmness, and peace.
Amethyst is associated with the birthstone month of February and with the zodiac sign of Pisces.
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From the International Colored Gemstone Association:
The colour of amethyst is as unique as it is seductive, though in fact this gemstone of all gemstones is said to protect its wearer against seduction. The amethyst is extravagance in violet. For many thousands of years, the most striking representative of the quartz family has been a jewel coveted by princes both ecclesiastical and secular. Moses described it as a symbol of the Spirit of God in the official robes of the High Priest of the Jews, and the Russian Empress Catherine the Great sent thousands of miners into the Urals to look for it. In popular belief, the amethyst offers protection against drunkenness – for the Greek words ‘amethystos’ mean ‘not intoxicated’ in translation. A more apt stone for the month of February, particularly if there is to be plenty going on in the way of carnival celebrations, could thus hardly be wished for.
A large number of further miraculous powers are attributed to the amethyst in all sorts of cultures. It was said to protect crops against tempests and locusts, bring good fortune in war and in the hunt, drive out evil spirits and inspire the intellect. A little study of the works of Pliny will reveal that this gemstone, if worn round the neck on a cord made from dog’s hair, affords protection against snakebite. Later, Hieronymus even reported that eagles placed an amethyst in their nest in order to protect their young from the selfsame danger. Apart from these powers, gemstone therapists say that the amethyst has a sobering and cleansing effect. Amethyst has also been said to quell excessive stomach acid and, according to Hildegard von Bingen, served to combat insect bites and beautify the skin. But the amethyst not only had a firm niche in medicine; it was also esteemed as a stone of friendship. And since it was thought to put the wearer in a chaste frame of mind and symbolise trust and piety, the amethyst came to occupy a very prominent position in the ornaments of the Catholic clergy over the centuries. It was the stone of bishops and cardinals; we find it in prelates’ crosses and in the so-called Papal Ring (Italian, 15th century) in the Jewellery Museum in Pforzheim.
The deposits with the greatest economic significance are in various states in southern Brazil and in neighbouring Uruguay. The third major export country is Madagascar. However, this gemstone is spread all over the world. Good specimens were found in Aztec graves, though the deposits from which they were extracted are no longer known today. On the Canadian side of Lake Superior in North America, there is a place named Amethyst Harbor. The violet quartz is found there in ample quantities, though rarely in gemstone quality. The fame of Idar-Oberstein, the German gemstone centre, is based on domestic amethyst finds. In earlier times, raw material was delivered there from the Zillertal Alps. When these nearby deposits ceased to yield, the old cutters’ tradition was able to be preserved thanks to supplies organised by German emigrés in South America. Russian amethysts, which were mainly mined in winter in the Urals, were once famous for their particularly beautiful colour, which shone magnificently even in artificial light. In Tibet there were amethyst rosaries, for there the gemstone was dedicated to Buddha and was said to promote clarity of mind. In Sri Lanka, stones which have rolled down on their own are found in debris.
The South American deposits in particular, which were not discovered until the nineteenth century, brought down the price of the violet gemstone. The amethyst bracelet of Queen Charlotte of England, which was so famous at the beginning of the 18th century, its value being estimated at 2000 pounds sterling at that time, was apparently worth only 100 pounds 200 years later. However, the price has a close relationship with the quality, and the quality varies immensely. Most of the material from Brazil is light-coloured, a tender purple. In Madagascar, it is generally red or violet hues which are found. Uruguay supplies the most beautiful and the deepest colour, but it is mostly blemished. Thus immaculate stones of the finest violet still fetch carat prices of well over a hundred euros. Mounted with diamond braid trimming, as has been the custom for some 100 years, enchanting pieces of jewellery are thus created.
In ancient times, amethyst was already being engraved and cut into sculptured forms, witness the bust of Trajan which Napoleon captured in Berlin. Amethyst quartz, banded with whitish layers, is particularly good to work with, though it is only ever either translucent or opaque or somewhere in between. In earlier times, people liked to drink wine from amethyst cups, which brings us back to the stone’s protective function against alcoholism. According to the ancient Greek saga, Diana turned a nymph whom Bacchus loved into an amethyst; hence the term Bacchus stone. Dionysus (also known as Bacchus, the name adopted by the Romans), 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.