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Amethyst Information

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Amethyst, the February birthstone and the best known member of the quartz family derives its name from the Greek work meaning "not to intoxicate."  It's reputed power to cure and prevent drunkenness stems from the ancient Greek myth:  The god Bacchus, neglected by the goddess Diana, decided in a fit of spite that the first person he met would be devoured by tigers.  The beautiful maiden Amethyst crossed his path.  When the beasts attacked her, she called on Diana for protection, and the goddess responded by turning her to stone.  Penitent, Bacchus poured wine over her petrified body, giving it its purple hue.  This connection with Bacchus, the mythical god fo wine, led to the belief that drinking wine from an amethyst cup would prevent drunkenness.

One of the finest gemstone used by man, amethyst gave rise to many other legends.  It was thought to safeguard soldiers, ensure victory, aid hunters, protect against contagious diseases, control evil thoughts, quicken the intelligence, and make its owner shrewd in business.
 
Catherine the Great loved amethyst and sent thousands of workers to mines in the Ural Mountains to search for the stone.  Several amethysts adorn the coronation regalia of England.  The orb, a golden ball six inches in diameter, contains a spectacularly colored amethyst one and a one-half inches high.  The Royal Sceptre is studded with amethysts, as is the coronet of the Prince of Wales.  Today, amethyst rings often are worn by bishops of the Roman Catholic Church, and ceremonial wine is drunk from goblets fashioned from this lovely stone.


Amethyst ranges in color from violet to red-purple;  it is often light in tone.  The most valuable hues, from deep purplis red to purple-red, are known as Uralian or Siberian amethysts (these names now denote quality rather than source).


Principal sources of amethyst include Brazil, Uruguay, and the former USSR.  Other locales include Bolivia, Mexico, Namibia, Tanzania and the US and Zambia.

Information on this stone was gathered from several sources, including but not limited to the Gemological Institute of America

 

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