The amethyst is a type of quartz colored purple, and is one of the most valuable gemstones existing natural state. Spread up to 3,000 BC in Egypt and Mesopotamia, the ancient Greeks called this stone amethystos, which means “sober,” not drunk ”. Indeed, then believed that the stone had the power to revive those who were drunk: for this reason, the amethyst was often embedded in the cups and glasses.
According to legend, Dionysus, god of wine and drunkenness, was offended by an ordinary mortal, and angry, decided to take with the first one he met and for this, he created the ferocious tigers. But there came Amethyst, a beautiful young woman who was returning from the temple of Diana, which had brought his charges. Diana decided to intervene so that the young woman wasn't eaten by the tigers, and turned her into a statue of pure quartz. Dionysus, just saw her, was seized with remorse for his actions and wept tears of wine, which stained the quartz and gave typical color of the purple.
Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethyst has the power to dissipate evil thoughts and encourage creativity and intelligence, while in the East, the amethyst is the stone sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often made their stone. Even today, the stone symbolizes wisdom and sobriety.
The colors of amethyst cover the whole spectrum of purple, from light lilac to heavy violet. The paler colors are also known as Rose of France and were very popular in England in Victorian times: for this reason different amethysts are embedded between the jewels of the Queen. In contrast, the more intense purple is rarer and therefore more valuable, especially those particular varieties capable of reflecting a pale light pink.
Amethyst is formed (it is said that “grow” as it arises from sedimentation and fluid percolated into underground caves) in lands of basaltic nature. It is particularly sensitive to heat: prolonged exposure to the sun makes the color more pale, and if it reaches temperatures close to 400 to 500 degrees, the very nature of the stone is overturned and, generally, the amethyst turns into citrine from yellow, brown or rust color.
The main amethyst mines are in South America, particularly Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia and Uruguay; but there are mines in Africa, for example in Zambia and neighboring countries. The African amethysts are generally smaller than those of South America, but are much more dark and beautiful; the same applies to the Australian, much sought after because of the intense color that evolve. Smaller deposits are present in North America, USA and Mexico. Limited findings were made in Italy in the provinces of Trento, Bolzano and Turin.
The amethyst find also important application in the matter of crystal.