|Name Origin:||From Ancient Greek and linked to the god of intoxication, Dionysus, and his unrequited pursuit of the maiden Amethystos – translating as ‘not intoxicated!|
|Hardness:||7 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale|
|Found in:||All over the world, including Brazil, South Korea, Austria, Russia, Zambia|
SECTS AND VIOLETS
In the times of Ancient Greece, it was not uncommon to find wine goblets fashioned from amethyst. This was due to a belief that the stone could prevent drunkenness in all those who came into contact. (Sadly, not true.) Throughout history, whether it was the Egyptians, Aztecs or Anglo-Saxons, the gem has featured for its beauty as well as its many perceived healing benefits.
Amethyst itself is a naturally occurring purplish quartz – today found in abundance in southern Brazil. The natural volcanic geology of this region also creates large ‘geodes’ of the stone – including the “amethyst grotto”. Its natural colour is seductive yet ironically amethyst is said to protect its wearer from such seduction! (For this reason, it has been a favourite of religious sects.)
Once on par with emerald, ruby, diamond and sapphire for its rarity, amethyst is today less valuable. Yet while crystal quartz is quite common, amethyst remained a scientific mystery for centuries. Its crystal structure and source of its colour was long thought to be due to manganese, but more recently identified with iron.
Amethyst will change colour when heated, even paling to near colourless in daylight. For this reason, it is crucial not to expose your jewellery to sunlight, artificial UV light (e.g. solariums) or black light. As a result of its sun-shy tendencies and quartz structure, imitation and synthetic amethyst is common.
Cleaning should be simply warm soapy water and a gentle cloth. Contact your jeweller with any concerns.
The amethyst bracelet of Queen Charlotte of England, was immensely famous and valuable in the early 18th century. However on the discovery of vast deposits in Brazil (some singularly up to 8 tonnes), amethyst’s value has diminished.