Introduction to Amethyst

Amethyst quartz cluster

By Jessica Wettig Hendrix

More than just purple quartz, amethyst has been around human culture for at least 2,000 years and ranks high on the list as everyone's all-time favorite crystal. Throughout time it has been coveted for its luscious purple color, healing powers, and its beauty.

The History of Amethyst

Amethyst has long been associated with the month of February, which is the month that the Romans dedicated to Neptune, the water god. Today it is February’s birthstone. It is also the stone of St. Valentine, faithful love, and stands for ecclesiastical dignity as the Bishop’s Stone.

Historically, it is believed to prevent drunkenness and overindulgence. Ancient Greeks and Romans studded their goblets with Amethyst, with the belief it would prevent intoxication. (Pretty sure it doesn't prevent you from becoming drunk... )

Amethyst Geode
Amethyst Often found in Geodes

The Physical Elements of Amethyst

Amethyst, or purple quartz, is SiO2, or Silicon dioxide. It grows protruding clusters of pyramids off its matrix base. These "pyramids" can get quite large. You can also find it as tall prismatic crystals, short stubby crystals or in drusy aggregates. Amethyst also forms the internal lining of geodes, some of which can be over 10 feet tall and weigh several tons.

Its purple coloring is usually caused by impurities in clear quartz of iron or manganese compounds. As the amethyst quartz grows, it incorporates trace amounts of iron. Once crystals form, gamma rays naturally emitted by radioactive materials within the host rock, irradiate the iron and produce the purple color. Traces of other minerals and conditions will cause the color to vary from pale red-violet to deep violet, clear to almost opaque.

It ranks 7 on the Mohs Hardness scale, making it durable enough for rings, pendants, and other everyday jewelry. Since amethyst is common all over the world it is an affordable option for jewelry.

Metaphysical Properties of Amethyst

Amethyst is a master healing stone. It also offers protection, purification and can help you release addictions. It is a good choice to help you guard against psychic attacks. It's known as a dream stone and has been said to help clear up insomnia. Put an amethyst under your pillow to bring about dreams. But be observant. If you are bothered by the vivid dreaming amethyst can invoke, move it further away from your pillow.

You can also use it to open your spiritual and psychic centers. Use it as a meditation aid when worn as a necklace to focus your energy. I'm pretty sure it won't prevent you from becoming intoxicated but might help you keep your commitment to sobriety! Amethyst carries the energy of passion, fire, creativity, spirituality, temperance, and sobriety. Spiritually, amethyst connects us to the Divine. It’s a calming stone and has even been known to control evil thoughts, and increase intelligence. It is also used to connect with and balance the crown chakra.

For travelers, the stone is used for protection from surprise attacks and treachery. Soldiers have used it to protect them from harm and pursue victory. Hunters have used it to aid in capturing wild beasts.

It is also considered a powerful psychic stone of protection against evil, witchcraft, and black magic. All in all, it’s a must-have stone for your collection.

Types of Amethyst

Botryoidal Amethyst or Grape Agate
Botryoidal Amethyst

"Grape Agate" or Botryoidal Amethyst?

Originally thought to be an agate, it was later correctly identified as Botryoidal Amethyst. Its original name of "Grape Agate" remains since it's more fun to say and easier to remember than "Botryoidal Amethyst." Possess all the typical metaphysical properties of Amethyst.

Chevron Amethyst tumbled stone crystal
Chevron Amethyst or "Dogtooth Amethyst"
This type occurs when amethyst and white quartz form in a banded or “V” pattern. This form shares the same energies and vibrations of normal amethyst and white quartz but is far stronger and more powerful when working with our higher chakras.

Ametrine quartz crystal