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Encyclopaedia of stones

Amethyst

The name Amethyst comes from the Greek: the private "a" precedes "methystos", the drunkenness, because it was supposed to protect from this scourge. It comes probably from a Greek legend which tells that the incorrigible Dionysos, on a stroke of anger, decided to take revenge on the first human passing within reach. The spell pointed to the young and innocent Amethyst. The god dropped tigers on her, but Artemis intervened just in time to save the girl, transforming her into her own statue of the purest quartz. There came the time of remorse... Dionysos, in sorrow, dropped his cup of wine, which splattered the statue and tinted purple.

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Colors
The range of colour is very wide and can vary from nearly colourless with a faint mauve tint to a glorious deep purple. Sometimes green.

Family
Quartz

A selection of jewels with amethyst

Origin

Of magmatic origin, amethysts arise from the crystallization of silica, they cover centimetric or sometimes wide geodes of several meters in basaltic rocks; or, they fill hydrothermal veins in plutonic rocks such as granite. In Europe, Russia and India, the main amethyst deposits are in Brazil, Bahia and Rio Grande do Sul, Uruguay, Zambia and Madagascar.

Virtues

Amethyst is the stone of courage and intelligence. Worn by bishops and knights, it was said to bring wisdom and fortune in business. Amethyst is also considered a dream stone. It is often used to cure insomnia, or put under a child's pillow to prevent nightmares.

Specifications

Amethyst is a fine stone that belongs to the quartz family and owes its color to the presence of iron. Without these coloring agents, the amethyst would be completely transparent, like the rock crystal.
The color of the amethyst remains stable only up to 250 ° C; Beyond that, most amethysts become discolored. Around 500 ° C, the amethyst becomes lemon yellow, but fades again if the temperature is raised to 600 ° C. Also, amethysts undergo a large scale heat treatment to obtain citrines. This heat treatment can leave characteristic inclusions, zebra frost, easily identifiable with a magnifying glass (x10).

History

The amethyst is one of the most popular gemstones, and has been treasured since ancient times. It was largely employed in antiquity, already in Ancient Egypt, where it was known as ‘the stone that brings luck' and used for amulets and talismans. Its name derives from the Greek amethystos, which means ‘not drunken', as its colour evokes that of raisins before their conversion into wine - but also because the stone was thought to ward off drunkenness. Purple has long been considered a royal colour, which partly explains why amethyst has been sought-after throughout history.
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