The name Amethyst derives from the ancient Greek “ amethystos “, meaning “ not drunk ” and refers to the myth to which this gem is linked.
Amethyst belongs to the macrocrystalline quartz family.
Its color ranges from pastel pink to dark purple and is produced from iron elements.
The origin of the Amethyst is described in this legend: the god of wine, known as Dionysus for the ancient Greeks and Bacchus for the ancient Romans, was the “bad boy” of mythology. Although his divine mission was to put an end to worries, Dionisio often combined a certain amount of trouble, especially after a few liters of good grape juice. The myth tells of how once Dionisio, drunk as usual, after being ignored by a passing human being, swore to take revenge on the first unfortunate who came to meet him. At that moment Amethyst passed by, an innocent and beautiful young girl, a faithful disciple of Artemis, towards whom Dionisio unleashed two ravenous tigers. At Amethyst’s cries, Dionysus filled his goblet waiting to enjoy the show. The all-seeing Artemis suddenly transformed Amethyst into a Quartz statue, as pure as her virtue. The spell had served to save the girl from danger, but unfortunately it was irreversible and Dionysus, in the grip of remorse, shed tears of pain in his cup of wine. Tears poured into the wine in the cup and Dionysus, staggering, accidentally spilled the wine on the statue, thus creating the purple gem we call Amethyst. Numerous supernatural forces are attributed to Amethyst; there is no disease that this gem cannot heal! Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) wrote that Amethyst was able to chase away bad thoughts and sharpen intelligence, while Pliny the Elder (23-79 AD), historical author of the Historia Naturalis (the first encyclopedia of the world), he said that if the name of the moon or the sun were engraved on an Amethyst hanging from the neck of a baboon, it would be an amulet against witchcraft and a talisman for those who petition the princes. Long before Roman emperors adopted the vivid purple, called “toga picta,” it was the Pharaohs, Queens and Kings who made purple a powerful symbol of sovereignty. From Cleopatra’s seal, to Queen Charlotte’s Amethyst necklace, Amethyst is and will always be tied to power. It is therefore not surprising that this gem was also very popular in the Middle Ages by the Catholic clergy. Believing that it favored celibacy, it immediately became known as the “papal stone”. Even today the bishops wear Amethyst rings.
The most important factor to consider when evaluating an Amethyst is the color: the more intense it is, the more expensive it is. The finest Amethysts have shades ranging from medium to dark, transparent and pure purple, without shades tending to red or blue, even if flashes of blue or red are precious and highly sought after. Amethyst crystals have few inclusions; normally there are no visible inclusions when the gem is examined 15 cm away from the naked eye. Being a gem much loved by cutters and jewelers, Amethysts can be found cut in the most diverse shapes, more than any other gem. Regardless of the cut, color tones and high brilliance are the criteria for a quality specimen.
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Some gems tend to discolor or return to their original color when exposed to a very intense light source; for this reason, if it is not necessary, any treatment of this type should be avoided.