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Amethyst is derived from the Greek word "amethystos", which can be translated as "not drunken." Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. Today this gemstone still symbolizes sobriety.
The legend of its origin comes from Greek myths. Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was angered by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a stature of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws of the Dionysus’ tigers. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The tears of this powerful god stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.
Since the color purple is traditionally the color of royalty, amethyst has been used since the dawn of history to adorn the rich and powerful monarchs and rulers. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.
In medieval times, amethyst was still credited with protecting one from the effects of drunkenness, both of the cup and also from the intoxicating effects of being in love. Wearing amethyst was also known to protect soldiers from harm and give them victory over their enemies, and assist hunters with the capture of wild animals.
The astrological signs of amethyst are Pisces, Virgo, Aquarius and Capricorn. Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February and the symbolic gemstone for the 17th wedding anniversary.
Clean your amethyst in ultrasonic jewelry cleaner or with warm, soapy water and a soft bristle brush. Amethyst often becomes paler if kept out in the sun.