Amethyst, the birthstone of February and known as the stone of royalty, is a form of the mineral quartz and occurs in large geodes within volcanic rock.

Amethyst Geode

Here is an example of an amethyst geode showing the delicate layers of the first formed agate, then later, layers of amethyst crystals.

Amethyst crystals can be huge and can weigh more than 100 pounds. They even can form in hollow geodes big enough to stand in. One of the largest amethyst geode in the world is called The Empress of Uruguay.

Originally discovered in the Artigas region in Northern Uruguay,
this beauty stands at a staggering 3.27 meters tall
and weighs 2.5 tonnes!


Amethysts were known to be as valuable and expensive as emeralds, sapphires and rubies. Historically, royals have admired this deep purple hue stone since at least the days of Alexander the Great. 


Here is the famous Duchess of Windsor's bib-style Cartier necklace, commissioned for her in 1947, deputing this breathtaking piece, along with matching earrings, in June 1953 at a Gala a l'Orangerie ball in Versailles.
The necklace features 28 step-cut amethysts, one oval faceted amethyst (clasp), and a large heart shaped amethyst in the front center, as well as turquoise cabochons and brilliant cut diamonds all suspended from a rope gold chain. N. Walsh Cartier Collection @ Cartier. 

Until the 19th Century, Russia was the main source of amethyst until large deposits were found in Brazil. Once as rare as rubies or emeralds, now are found in abundance. Today, amethyst can be found in many places and can be enjoyed by everyone all over the world. The most important places it comes from are Africa, South America and Brazil. The largest portion of amethysts that hit the markets comes mainly from Brazil and Uruguay; more specifically Minas Gerais, Artigas and the Rio Grande do Sul.

Here is an amethyst mine in Bolivia called the Anahi Mine. Photo: Robert Weldon/GIA

 Throughout history amethyst has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. The name 'amethyst' derives from the Greek name 'Amethystos' which means "a remedy against drunkenness". Because of it's wine like color, early Greek mythology associated this gem with Bacchus, the God of wine. 

In myth, amethyst was created by Bacchus. He was pursuing a woman, Amethyste, who refused his affections and prayed to the Gods to stay chaste. The Goddess Diana responded, transforming Amethyste into a white stone. In shame, Bacchus poured a goblet of wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing its crystals purple. 

Amethyst is said to ward off drunkenness and is also believed to keep the wearer clear headed and quick witted. Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote that it enhances intelligence and protects against evil thoughts. He also believed the power of meditation increased when done in purple lighting. 



Images credit: Mrs. Jones and Co blog &