The History & Mythology Of Amethyst - From Ancient Greece To Feng Shui

Deriving its name from the ancient Hellenistic Greek: Amethystos meaning “a-“ not & “-methysko” meaning ‘intoxicate’, both the ancient Greek and Roman societies believed that Amethyst had the ability to protect from drunkenness, with the ancient Greeks even fashioning drinking vessels and wearing amethyst jewelry.

The origins of the association with protection from intoxication are disputed, though the most popular tales feature the Greek god Dionysus, god of wine, fertility and festivity in general.
Amethyst Variance Objects Blog
Legend has it that one day, Dionysus was insulted by a mortal and flew into a (presumably drunken) blind rage! So mad was he, that he opted to unleash this fury upon the next mere mortal who had the misfortune of crossing his path. 

He devised a trap, whereby two tigers would do his dirty work and soothe his bruised ego. Unbeknownst to the dangers ahead, a beautiful chaste young maiden was making her way to pay tribute to the goddess Artemis. Upon seeing this situation unfold before her, the goddess had little time to act! Right as the lunging tigers could complete their terrible task, Artemis turned this young lady into pure crystalline Quartz, ending her mortal life but saving her from a grisly fate.

Having seen this play out, Dionysus was overcome with remorse and deep sadness for his actions. As Dionysus wept and sobbed, he emptied his goblet, pouring the wine over the Quartz as an offering, turning its colour from clear to the enchanting purple hue we know and love today. Though amethyst was long associated with protection from intoxication, some attribute this origin story to a Renaissance-era Romantic named Remy Belleau.

 

Amethyst Throughout History

Whatever the truth of it, Amethyst has been used by a plethora of societies and civilisations. The colour purple has oft been associated with royalty due to the costly process and expensive nature of making purple dye.

A Scarab beetle shaped bracelet made from Amethyst was found in Tutankhamun’s tomb and Amethyst amulets and jewelry pieces dating back to 3000 BCE have been found in Egypt.

In more recent history, Medieval European warriors wore amethyst trinkets to help keep them clear and level-headed during battle and to offer protection.

In 1660, upon the restoration of the monarchy by Charles II of England, Amethyst was used as the centrepiece for the crown jewels.

For the Chinese practitioners of Feng Shui, Amethyst can be used to transform lower vibrations into positive ones and for Buddhists, prayer beads of amethysts have been used, thought to be a sacred stone to Buddha.

 

A long and storied past, the gem of choice for royalty, clergy and revellers alike, Amethyst has a timeless appeal that has been and will continue to be revered throughout the ages.

We source deep purple amethyst from Uruguay with a color so vibrant it borders on blue.  Our rose de france amethyst is clear and sparkly with a rosey purple color.  Check out our Ready to Wear section for currently available amethyst pieces or customize one in our Made to Order section here.