What Does an Amethyst Mean? | Gemstone Guide
The amethyst is one of the many stones that are surrounded by tons of mythology and spiritual significance. In Ancient Greece, the word ‘amethyst’ translates to ‘not drunken’, and was a powerful symbol of chastity, sobriety, and calm. Over millennia, many superstitions have become associated with the stone. Different civilizations have given the stone their own unique interpretations, but all of them have been mostly positive. Regardless of whether one does or doesn’t believe in the ‘power’ of amethysts, they are beautiful stones that are available in abundance all over the world, at quite reasonable prices. This article covers the symbolism of amethysts throughout history, which types of amethysts are considered valuable, and distinguishing real amethysts from artificial ones.
What Does an Amethyst Represent?
Sobriety and Self-Control
From hope to abstinence, to wealth, spirituality, and others, it has undergone several cycles of rebranding over the ages. Amethysts, as mentioned, were thought of as a symbol of chastity and sobriety in Ancient Greece. But the story of how it came to be associated as such is an interesting one. In Greek mythology, there was a young maiden who became the target of Bacchus, the god of wine. In a fit of intoxication, he vowed to decimate anyone unlucky enough to cross his path by summoning a hoard of tigers on them. Amethyst, who was on her way to visit the shrine of Diana (the goddess of chastity) was saved from the tigers by Diana. The goddess was prescient of Bacchus’ wrath and turned it into a transparent crystal. Seeing this, Bacchus fell into remorse and poured grape juice over the crystal, giving it its famous color.
According to another story from the same era, the titan Rhea gave Bacchus an amethyst to save his drunkenness from driving him insane. However, no matter what the true origin of these tales is, they show why they have traditionally been associated with sobriety and self-control.
Healing is perhaps the one thing that has been associated with amethysts since the dawn of time. The amethyst is thought to have a profound influence on the pineal gland, which is situated in the brain. The French philosopher Rene Descartes famously believed that the pineal gland was the foundation of our soul and the source of our thoughts. They’ve have been thought to heal acne, insomnia, headaches, lung illnesses, paranoia, stomach aches, and many other illnesses.
The belief that these gemstones represent wealth comes from Feng Shui, a well-known Chinese philosophy. They’re often considered to be suitable for those looking to enter a new business, or building their personal fortune. It has also been believed that if placed in the southern corner of the entrance of the house. It will bring prosperity to the family occupying it.
What Color Amethyst Is Most Valuable?
One of the best things about amethysts is that they are quite affordable despite their magnificent look. This is because they are derived from a mineral called quartz, which is a widely available resource. The value of these gems is essentially determined by the shade of purple, which is caused by small quantities of iron and natural irradiation, and not grape juice. Its colors can range from a pinkish-violet to a dark purple hue. Some popular shades have even been given their own names. The finest one available is called the ‘Deep Siberian’, whose color consists of purple, and small amounts of blue with red.
Coming back to grading the gems, half of all gems are Natural AA amethysts. These gems generally have a light to a medium shade of purple. On the other end of the spectrum, Natural AAAA amethysts are considered to be in the top 10% of the finest amethysts in the world. These have no inclusions, come in a brilliant cut, and a medium to a slightly dark shade of purple.
Besides color, another factor contributing to the price of amethysts is how prominent its inclusions are. The third factor is color zoning, which is the degree to which the color is evenly spread out in the gemstone. High color zoning, which is the concentration of color in one area, reduces the value of the amethyst. Unlike diamonds, the price of amethysts does not increase drastically with an increase in carat weight. This means that one can buy bigger center stones for their engagement and wedding rings without having to burn a hole in their pocket.
Are They Good for Anxiety?
As mentioned earlier, one of the things that amethysts are known for is their mental healing property. There is an extensive literature on how these stones affect your energy, your thoughts, and how they affect your chakras. If you happen to believe in that, it might actually help you. But no, amethysts do not possess any magical powers that will just do away with all your anxieties.
How Can You Tell If a Stone Is an Amethyst?
The wide availability of this gem and the relatively low availability of synthetic amethysts mean that the chances of you ending up with a fake gemstone are relatively small. Still, there are several ways to tell whether your amethyst is real or not. These are:
- The Touch Test: Press the amethyst against a part of your body with thin skin, such as your forehead, cheeks, etc. Observe whether you feel a cool sensation. After holding for a few minutes, switch to another area and re-check. If you can feel some coolness, the stone is an amethyst. If it feels warm, it’s likely plastic or glass.
- The Fake Test: A fake amethyst will have no color zoning, no impurities, and will be completely purple in color. Real amethysts generally have the purple combined with another shade, such as white, red, blue, etc.
- The Lens Test: Recently, many fake stones ffrom Morocco have been caught with a simple trick: looking at the amethyst through a phone camera lens. The stones that seemed purple to the naked eye turned out to be blue under the lens. This is perhaps the easiest test on this list, along with the next one.
- Ask a Jeweler: Sometimes, to be completely sure, one simply needs professional advice. You can have your amethyst appraised by a local jeweler to make sure you weren’t cheated in any way.