Every month we feature a mineral and discuss everything about it, from its composition and origin to its historical significance and metaphysical properties — this month’s featured stone is amethyst. Amethyst is known for its beautiful purple color and prism crystal shape and its great abundance and affordability. Amethyst is a hard stone that is scratch resistant and is well suited for long-lasting jewelry.
Composition and Physical Properties
Amethyst is a silicate mineral and is a member of the quartz family. Amethyst contains small amounts of manganese that are responsible for the purple color when exposed to ultraviolet light. It has a specific gravity of approx. 2.65 g/cm2, meaning that it is the same density and as heavy as quartz for a given volume. Given that it’s a silicate mineral, it is quite hard, showing a seven on the Mohs Hardness Scale. This high hardness lends to its durability and lack of susceptibility to soaps or other cleaning solutions.
Amethyst forms inside the trapped gas bubble within molten lava. During cooling, these gas cavities fill with silica-rich fluids, and as they cool amethyst crystalizes on the walls of the cavity, often resulting in spherical or elongated shaped geodes. Geodes are commonly found in arid areas, often in stream beds where the less durable volcanic rock has eroded, leaving the harder and more durable spherical shaped geodes behind.
The most significant deposits of amethyst are found in the basalt flows of Brazil and Uruguay. Amethyst filled cavities within the basalt can contain hundreds to thousands of pounds of high-quality amethyst crystals.
Amethyst has no significant industrial uses, and it is primarily mined solely for its color and beauty as a gemstone.
According to Greek mythology, amethyst took its color from the tears of Dionysus, the god of wine and festivities. And it got its name from the Greek word amethustos; methustos meaning “to be drunk’’ and the prefix -a meaning “not,” so not drunk or sober when combined. Amethyst was viewed to be a potent antidote for intoxication, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it.
The Tibetans held amethyst as sacred to the Buddha and used it as prayer beads for meditation malas.
During the Middle Ages, amethyst was considered a symbol of royalty and was used to decorate English emblems and insignia of royalty.
As a stone of spiritual protection, purification, and divine connection, amethyst helps clear harmful or addictive emotional patterns. Wearing or placing amethyst nearby can promote a feeling of courage and security from its resonance.
Amethyst is the birthstone of February.
Tejas Beads has a large selection of high-quality natural gemstone beads that are great for handmade jewelry. If you are looking to buy amethyst beads, we carry a wide variety of shapes, sizes, finishes, and grades, as well as all of the tools and accessories to complete your projects. If you have any questions, please give us a call. We’d be happy to assist you.