History of the Amethyst

Revered by the ancient Greeks as a talisman, Amethyst was thought to entice the highest purest aspirations of humankind when worn. Amethyst was believed to inspire courage, calm and contemplation. Symbolizing sincerity and sacred love, Amethyst is also used to represent the 1st and 6th wedding anniversaries. The name is derived from the Greek word

“Amethustos” which can be loosely translated as “not drunken” and some people believe Amethyst has the power to guard against intoxication. Legend tells the story that Amethyst acquired its magnificent color when a remorseful Bacchus poured wine over colorless Quartz.

Amethyst Color Gemstones

Amethyst is the purple to violet variety of the Quartz family, and crystals can be found in cavities in hydrothermal veins in various rock types. Alternatively Amethyst can be found lining the central cavities of agate geodes associated with basalt flows.

In the 19th Century Russian production set the hallmark for superb Amethyst and today fine violet material with portwine colored overtones is often  described as “Siberian”. With the shortage of Russian supply, African Amethyst is considered the new benchmark for the finest color gems. Currently Brazil and Zambia are the major producers of gem quality Amethyst.

Amethyst is sometimes enhanced by traditional heating methods to lighten color and/or remove smoky components. Certain Amethysts are heated to produce Citrine, Ametrine (bi-color Quartz) and Green Quartz (also called Prasiolite). To clean Amethyst, use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Ultrasonic cleaners are usually safe, but steamers are not. Avoid contact with harsh chemicals.



The Gemstones Handbook, by Arthur Thomas, 2008, Fall River Press, New York, NY, by arrangement with New Holland Publishers, UK.

Various AGTA (American Gem Trade Association) promotional brochures www.addmorecolortoyourlife.com