Fall Hill Bead and Gem

Stone of the Week: Amethyst
tumbled amethyst, Africa

Stone of the Week: Amethyst

Amethyst is another ancient gemstone, having been used in adornments and finery for thousands of years. Both Ancient Egyptian and early Greek legends associated Amethyst and its deep purple color with wine. Because of this it has long been used as a talisman, both for protecting it wearer against drunkeness as well as retaining clear-headedness during battle and business.

carved amethyst Egyptian amulet
carved Egyptian fish amulet, 1900-1700 BCE
ancient egyptian Amethyst beads
egyptian amethyst beads, 2000 BCE
Amethyst Roman intaglio portrait
Amethyst Roman intaglio portrait, 212 AD

 

It has long represented the Royals in the Crown Jewels, and at one time its value was on par with Rubies, Sapphires, Emeralds and even Diamonds!  Amethyst is one of the 5 Cardinal stones, which, because of their rarity, were reserved for ceremonial or religious use. It makes an appearance in the Bible, appearing as a stone in the breastplate of the high priest, as well as being one of the 12 gemstones that represented the 12 Tribes of Israel.

Crown Jewels: Sovereigns orb, 1661AD
Crown Jewels: Sovereigns orb, 1661AD. The amethyst is the large gem beneath the cross
Crown Jewels: Saint Edward's Crown, 1661 AD
Crown Jewels: Saint Edward’s Crown, 1661 AD

Amethyst has clearly been fascinating and captivating people for the ages, appearing in myths, legends and literatures that span many different cultures, religions, and time periods. It is also the official birthstone of people born in February.

Metaphysically, Amethyst has retained its legend as a “sober stone”, and is still often worn or carried as a talisman for this purpose. It is also is thought to bring wealth and prosperity to the bearer and has always been associated with the ruling classes. It is also thought to encourage inner strength and to relieve stress. It is associated with the Third Eye Chakra and enhancing spiritual awareness.

Amethyst is a variety of quartz, a 7 on the Moh’s Hardness Scale. In ancient times, Amethyst was mined primarily at a site in Wadi el-Hudi (Egypt).

Wadi el-Hudi, Egypt
ancient Amethyst mine, Wadi el-Hudi, Egypt

In the late 14th century, commercial Amethyst mining began in Idar-Oberstein (Germany), though historians have dated mining activities in that area back to Roman times. Today, it is found in many locations all over the world, with characteristics varying depending on the locality. For example, Amethyst found in Uruguay forms in Basalt, and tends to be very dark purple and of the Druze crystal variety:

Uruguay Amethyst
Uruguay Amethyst

 

while Vera Cruz Amethyst from Las Vigas Mexico are long, thin crystal points with a delicate lavender hue:

Vera Cruz Amethyst
Vera Cruz Amethyst

most Brazilian Amethyst comes from Rio del Sol, and varies in crystal size and in color, from light purple to dark purple:

Brazilian Amethyst
Brazilian Amethyst

Africa, Namibia in particular, is also host to several Amethyst deposits, the most famous being the Brandenberg Amethyst from the Brandenberg Mountains:

Brandenberg Amethyst
Brandenberg Amethyst

but there is also high grade gem quality Amethyst to be found in Namibia, suitable for faceting or cabbing:

tumbled amethyst Africa
tumbled amethyst, Africa

Africa is also home to a variety of Amethyst that forms in massive seams striped with Quartz, called Cape Amethyst, as well as a unique formation of Amethyst crystals found in South Africa, commonly called Cactus Quartz or Spirit Quartz, that occur when druze crystals grow over a single crystal point:

Spirit Quartz
Amethyst Spirit Quartz

The largest Amethyst mine in North America is in Thunder Bay, Ontario. It can also be found in many locations in the USA, including New Hampshire, Maine, Georgia, Montana, North Carolina, Arizona, New Mexico and Pennsylvania.

From a design standpoint, Amethyst pairs well with many other precious and semi-precious gemstones, or it can stand alone with perhaps just a few small sterling silver or gold beads for accent. This versatile stone is available in many different styles, both in beads and in finished jewelry.

Amethyst Pendant
Bali Silver with Amethyst
Amethyst Pendant
Amethyst Pendant
Faceted Amethyst Pendant
Faceted Amethyst Pendant
Bali Silver and Amethyst
Bali Silver and Amethyst
Amethyst and 14k gold
Amethyst and 14k gold

From big and bold to dainty and delicate, this mystical and revered gemstone is sure to continue to fascinate and delight for many ages to come!

 

 

Close Menu
×
×

Cart