Amethyst is a variety of quartz which gets its color from irradiated iron and other minerals. It typically grows in clusters of 6-sided prisms of hues from light violet to deep purple. They have been used in jewelry since ancient Egypt and were particularly popular for intaglio, and they were once considered as rare and valuable as emeralds and sapphires until large deposits of volcanic geodes were found in Brazil. By the modern era, though, it has been found as far and wide as South Korea, Australia, and Canada. According to the American Gem Society, it is the birthstone for February.
The Greek name, améthystos, literally means "not intoxicated," due to the Greek and Roman belief that amethyst can prevent drunkenness. For this reason, they wore amulets of amethyst and made wine cups from amethyst. To this point, the titan Rhea presents the god Dionysus with amethyst to help him keep his sanity in Dionysiaca.
Medieval Europeans, however, believed that amethyst could help with healing and helped preserve soldiers on the battlefield. It was also considered a symbol of royalty, though this may be due to its purple hue. At one time, it was practice for a lady to present it to her knight or a wife to her husband, in the shape of a heart and set in silver, to bring happiness and heavenly blessing on the couple.
According to The Book of Talismans, Amulets, and Zodiacal Gems by William Thomas and Kate Pavitt, Amethyst is connected to the sign of Pisces, and according to Tropical Gemstones by Carol Clark, Tibetans consider Amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.
Episcopal rings are usually set with amethyst, giving it the title "the Bishop's stone." Amethyst was once a common material for rosaries, believing the stone material would help calm the mind of the rosary's user. It is also the stone of St. Valentine. Amethyst also appears in Exodus 28:19 & 39:12 as one of the stones on the breastplate of a priest, where it is refered to as "‘achlâmâh" which might mean "dream stone."
Possible correspondences: Alcohol and alcoholism (esp. the prevention of), beauty, Buddha, Buddhist beliefs, calm, chivalry, Christian beliefs, clarity of thought, Dionysus, dreams, drunkenness (esp. the prevention of), Egypt, Greece, health, Judaic beliefs, love, luck in battle, piousness, Rhea, Rome, royalty, sacredness, surviving war, Tibet, wine, world, volcanos.