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"And when I take them out of the cherrywood box these beads are the colour of dog-violets in shadow."
~ Amethyst Beads, Eavan Boland, 1944
The name "amethyst" comes from an Ancient Greek combination of words meaning "not intoxicated," a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness! Also once considered a stone only for royalty and members of the clergy because of the significance attached to the colour purple (a shade difficult to create before modern times), this purple stone was once deemed more precious than diamonds, rubies, sapphires, or emeralds! One legend credits the Greek god Dionysus as the creator of Amethyst. Learning that a mortal had insulted him, Dionysus, the God of Wine vowed to avenge the insult by killing the next person to cross his path. In his anger, Dionysus unleashed furious tigers upon a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay homage to Artemis, the goddess of childbirth and virginity. However, in the very instant the tigers leaped, Artemis protected the young maiden by turning her into a statue of pure white quartz. In remorse for his actions while in a state of drunken anger, Dionysus poured his cup of grape wine over the pure white quartz statue, giving the quartz statue its beautiful violet-purple color as well as bestowing the purple stone with the power to prevent the deleterious effects of alcohol! 💎 ♒ ♓
February's birthstone, the amethyst, is a violet variety of quartz.
The name comes from the Ancient Greek combination of words meaning "not intoxicated," a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness.
Medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people and keep them cool-headed. Western Christian bishops wear an episcopal ring often set with an amethyst, associated with the allusion to the description of the Apostles as "not drunk" at Pentecost in Acts 2:15.
This tartan, designed by Carol A.L. Martin, recalls the colour of amethyst ore from the designer's trip to an amethyst mine in Northern Ontario.
For a map of Scotland's natural gemstone areas, including amethyst, click the geode.