Amethyst is one of the most popular varieties of quartz. It is the official birthstone for February and one of our best-selling gemstones.
Amethyst is formed in silica-rich liquids deposited in gas cavities (geodes) in lava. It occurs in crystalline masses, but the crystals are generally not well developed, so they are generally found as clusters of crystal points. Though geodes are the best place to find amethysts, they also sometimes grow as stalactites.
The stone's name is derived from the Greek word amethystos, meaning "not drunken," because people of ancient times believed it to protect the wearer from drunkenness. For this reason, wine goblets often were carved from it! Some amethysts will lose their color in sunlight, so keep them away from direct exposure to help maintain their rich purple.
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst had the power to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken intelligence. In Tibet, amethyst is considered sacred to Buddha, and rosaries are often fashioned from it. Western mystics say the stone helps instill the highest ideals and urges one to do what is right. They also claim amethyst cures impatience, alleviates feelings of victimization, balances high energy, eliminates chaos and helps keep one grounded.
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