About Amethyst by Emylee About: Purple passion. From refreshing lilac to ripe plum, Amethyst demonstrates the drama and excitement of the color purple. Amethyst is a purple quartz whose rich and beautiful color comes from trace amounts of iron. The gem is used to celebrate February birthdays, as well as fourth, sixth, and ninth wedding anniversaries. Amethyst is also associated with the zodiac signs Pisces, Virgo, and Aquarius. History and Lore: Perhaps because of its depth and richness, Amethyst has always been associated with intense emotion. For that reason, the legend of its origin is fitting, depicting a tale of revenge, devotion and immortal remorse. The Greek myth that tells the story of the stone’s origin underlies this idea: feeling jealous and unappreciated, Bacchus, the god of wine, took his frustrations out on a young maiden named Amethyst. When he released his tigers to kill her, the goddess Diana took pity on her and transformed the girl into clear quartz to protect her from being eaten alive. Some variations affirm that in his guilt, Bacchus poured wine over the quartz to honor the girl. Others say it was his tears that fell upon Amethyst and gave her the noted hue. The word Amethyst is of greek origin and means “sober.” It was believed to keep a person clear-headed and quick-witted no matter how much wine had been consumed. The theme of sobriety carried on in Roman ideas about how wearing the stone aided in controlling passions and lust; it was believed that wives should wear the stone to keep from straying into the arms of other men. It was the stone set into Cleopatra’s signet ring, and the Egyptian Book of the Dead attributes the stone as the symbol of wisdom. Amethyst was one of the stones set on Aaron’s Breastplate, and it has also been highly prized by the Christian church. It continues to be considered a powerful amulet in metaphysical practices and is thought to have a calming, or sobering, ability. Source: Fine amethyst was much rarer in the past than it is today, and it was once considered a gem reserved for royalty. Russia was once the main source of Amethyst, but near the turn of the twentieth century, new deposits were discovered in Brazil. Most Amethyst is now sourced from South America. Buyer’s Guide: Even fine amethyst has a modest price tag. Large gems remain affordable. Amethyst comes in a range of color from pale lilac to rich purple. A fine Amethyst will feature a rich, velvety purple to reddish purple hue consistent throughout the stone. The stone would be clean of imperfections visible to the eye, and would be cut to sparkle. Gemvara's gemstones are AAA quality, learn more here. Care and Cleaning: Amethyst is good for everyday wear. Avoid exposure to high heat, which may cause its color to fade. Clean with mild dish soap: use a toothbrush to scrub behind the stone where dust can collect. Amethyst can usually be safely cleaned using an ultrasonic cleaner.