Amethyst "The Essence of Purple"

Amethyst is an old favorite. Birthstone for February and an intoxicating rich purple. There is more you didnt know though so read on...

Nicky Thomas

Gemstone & Jewelry
Style & Trends Editor

Unfortunately it has become a gem that is often thought of as “old fashioned”, “dull”, “boring” and “common”. But, is actually a beautiful, vivid stone – “the essence of purple” that has captured our hearts for hundreds of years!

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz that is found in many locations around the world and forms as terminated crystals of all sizes inside geodes, clusters and as long single terminations. 

Terminated amethyst crystals.jpg

Amethyst Geode.jpg

Amethyst Geode 

Some geodes (hollow, crystal lined bubbles) are big enough for a person to stand in! The largest Amethyst geode, The Empress of Uruguay, originally discovered in the Artigas region in northern Uruguay and transported to the Crystal Caves in Atherton, Australia, stands a staggering 3.27 meters tall, weighs 2.5 tonnes!

Largest Amethyst Geode.jpg
The Empress of Uruguay, the world's largest Amethyst geode

The name Amethyst comes from the Greek méthystos ("intoxicated") a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness. It gets it purple coloring from Iron or Manganese compounds in the host rock and is often routinely heated to bring out a deeper purple color. It is the deeply saturated strong purple color that is the most coveted.

Amethyst was as expensive as Emerald or Ruby until the 19th Century when large deposits of it were discovered in Brazil. Today it is the most valued of the Quartz family and is found in Russia, Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, Zambia and parts of the United States.

A little bit of history about Amethyst

° The Ancient Greeks wore Amethyst as amulets and made drinking vessels decorated in them to prevent themselves from being intoxicated.

° In the middles ages it was considered as a symbol of royalty and a “cardinal gem” and was used to decorate English regalia.

° Medieval European soldiers wore Amethyst amulets to protect them in battle.

° The Ancient Egyptians used Amethyst to guard against fearful and guilty thoughts.

° An Amethyst is the ninth stone in the breast plate of the high priest of Israel, and one of the ten stones upon which the names of the tribes of     Israel were engraved.

° The ancient saint St. Valentine, the patron of love, wore an Amethyst ring carved with a cupid. Hence, why it is also the birthstone for   February.

° Tibetans have always considered Amethyst to be sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.


The Delhi 'Sapphire' actually an Amethyst, it was incorrectly identified in the nineteenth century. It is said to be cursed since it was looted from a temple in Kanpur, India, during the bloody Indian Mutiny of 1857. It is now in the collection of the Natural History Museum in London.

 The Delhi Sapphire.jpg

The Tiffany Amethyst Necklace. A 56 carat square cushion cut Amethyst delicately surrounded by vines, leaves and grapes, designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany, circa 1915. It is much larger and of higher quality than any others in the National Gem Collection from this Russian locality. It was generously donated to the Smithsonian in 2007.

The Tiffany Amethyst Necklace.jpg

The Morris Amethyst Brooch – made most likely during the Edwardian period and features a spectacular 96 carat heart shaped Amethyst surrounded in Diamonds and set in platinum and yellow gold. It was donated to the Smithsonian Institution by Mrs. M. Morris in 1973 and is now on display at the National Museum of Natural History.

The Morris Amethyst Brooch.jpg


Amethyst is the February birthstone and celebratory gem for the 6th and 17th Wedding Anniversary.


° Amethyst crystals are exceptional for providing spiritual protection, inner strength and clarity of mind, making them a classic meditation tool.

° Amethyst healing properties also include acting as a natural form of stress relief and attracts positive energy while ridding your body of any   negative emotions, they are said to help strengthen the immune system and heal any imbalances that lie in the body.

° They are said to be beneficial to your environment, working to purify any space of negative vibrations.

Color Psychology – Purple

Creativity, Wealth, Serenity, Contemplative


Educated at the University of Exeter and a key part of our team here at The Rare Gemstone Company, Nicky has been fascinated by gemstones and jewelry since childhood. She explores all areas of the industry in her blog and revels in the proximity to gems and jewels that working at the source of some of the world’s most beautiful and rarest gemstones provides her.

Latest Articles

Tourmaline - The October Birthstone

If you were born in October you are very fortunate indeed to have such a stunning and versatile gemstone as your birthstone.

Why Are Some Gemstones Cut As A Cabochon?

What is a cabochon, what makes it different from a faceted gemstone and why are they cut this way? Read on to find out.

Handmade Jewelry Vs Casting

Most jewelry in the world today is mass-produced using a process called casting. Most people don’t know the difference between the age-old method of hand making fine jewelry and the more ubiquitous mass production of today.

What is the difference between Yellow Gold, White Gold and Rose Gold?

Learn the difference between White Gold, Rose Gold and Yellow Gold. Why 18 karat gold is more expensive than 9 karat gold. What is gold plating and gold filling? All your questions answered....