Gemstone Spotlight: Amethyst
Would you believe it if we told you you won’t get drunk from drinking alcohol, as long as you drink from an amethyst cup?
Don’t worry, we wouldn’t believe ourselves either — but that’s what the ancient Greeks thought. It’s even where amethyst gets its name.
Origin of the Name, Amethyst
The Greek word améthystos translates to, “not intoxicated.” The origins of the name are related to a story from Greek mythology:
The Greek God Dionysus became intoxicated after drinking red wine. In his drunken state, he decided to pursue a young virgin named Amethyst. She cried out to Goddess Diana for help. The goddess immediately granted her protection by turning her into quartz stone. When Dionysus sobered up and realized what he had tried to do, tears fell into his goblet of wine. The goblet overturned and split onto the glimmering stone girl, turning the white quartz purple and leaving us with the beautiful Amethyst gemstone we have today.
The Greeks even drank their wine from amethyst cups or amethyst studded goblets to take advantage of this mystical sobering property. They also used it to keep their minds sober during business negotiations.
The Greek myth is fascinating, but where do we get amethyst from today?
Where Amethyst is Found
Amethyst is a semi-precious gemstone, meaning it’s not actually that rare. It is the most valuable form of quartz, but quartz is the second most abundant mineral in the Earth’s continental crust. Amethyst clusters can be found nearly everywhere around the world. Its biggest producers are in South America — specifically in Artigas, Uruguay, and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil.
Want to learn more about harvesting amethyst? Here is an entertaining video of the process in Kuridala Queensland, Australia.
If your birthday is in February, you may already be familiar with amethyst. The color of this gemstone varies from transparent pale pinkish-violet to deep, dark blue-purple. Often, impurities of other solids and gases within the amethyst add texture and character to the pure, clear crystal formations.
Photo by Eva Kröcher
There’s no denying amethyst looks gorgeous, but can you use it for anything other than stunning jewelry? Many people say yes.
Uses of Amethyst
The gemstone has had many perceived uses throughout history. Many people believe in the mystical properties of amethyst jewelry, and wear it daily for healing benefits. Crystal healing is still used today by alternative health practitioners for ailments like anxiety. Watch this crystal healing expert talk about its uses.
Royal Amethyst Jewelry
It’s not just us and the Greeks. People from other cultures in history also believed in the protective powers of amethyst. European knights carried amethyst during battle to aid healing. Later on in England, the stone became a symbol of royalty. The queen consort of Great Britain and Ireland, Alexandra of Denmark, wore a beautiful diamond and amethyst tiara:
Another queen consort, Queen Mary of Teck, wore an amethyst tiara during mourning. The dark purple gems abided by the court’s acceptable dark colors for mourning periods. There were numerous royal deaths during her reign, so Queen Mary wore amethyst quite often.
Today, royalty continues to wear amethyst jewels — necklaces, earrings, and even tiaras are still made with the beautiful gemstone. Pictured below is Mette-Marit, Crown Princess of Norway, wearing a stunning amethyst tiara complete with amethyst teardrop earrings.
Amethyst Jewelry Today
The same beautiful qualities that attracted people to amethyst throughout history are still winning over jewelry lovers today. But you don’t have to be royalty to own gorgeous amethyst pieces. Since it’s a semi-precious stone, amethyst jewelry is available in many stunning designs at wonderful prices. Many of our artisans continue the tradition of amethyst jewelry and invent new ways to showcase its beauty with silver. Here’s our favorite amethyst jewelry made by local Taxco Mexican silver jewelry makers:
The Painter Set: Amethyst Necklace, Bracelet, & Earrings
See the set and options here.
950 Silver & Natural Larimar Amethyst and Pearl Necklace
See this piece here.
Navajo-inspired Infinity Cuff Amethyst Bracelet
See this bracelet here.
Do you have special amethyst jewelry? Or a specific reason for wearing it? We’d love to hear your experience with amethyst in the comments.
Amethyst is so pretty! I didn’t realize it was so affordable. 🙂
hi Gwendolyn — yes, for the most part it is quite affordable in terms of gemstones! 🙂
we’re certainly not experts, but as we understand it, the higher grade and quality specimens that are mined from some of the more well known deposits around the world will demand higher prices for collectors – thanks!
It’s funny the Greek word amethystos translates to “not intoxicated.” Amethysts are stunning and super intoxicating to look at.
Hi Chad — yes, the variations within the stone can be stunning and mesmerizing! 🙂
It is definitely one of the more popular gemstones with our buyers, and we can certainly understand why!
amethyst takes me back to my childhood. Question – where does it rank in cost compared to some of the other common gemstones?
hi Dan–thanks so much for your comment and question! 🙂 Amethyst is from the quartz family, and it is actually not too costly in general due the vast deposits that have been more recently discovered around the world. Depending on the quality and grade, and from what deposit it has been mined, it can become expensive to the right collectors. In general, though, due to it’s abundance, it is quite affordable.
I wear amethyst simply because it’s my favorite gemstone! The painter set you show is absolutely stunning.