Amethyst was as expensive as the ruby and emerald until the 19th Century, when Brazil’s large deposits were discovered. It was believed to prevent intoxication—amethystos means “not drunk” in ancient Greek. Today, as the most valued quartz variety, amethyst is in demand for designer pieces and mass-market jewelry alike, and its purple to pastel hues retain wide consumer appeal.
Because of its wine-like color, early Greek legends associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Other legends reflected beliefs that amethyst kept its wearer clear-headed and quick-witted in battle and in business affairs. Because amethyst was associated with wine, it was believed that wearing amethyst prevented drunkeness.
Fine amethysts have been set in religious jewelry and royal crown jewels for ages. It was once considered equal in value to ruby, emerald, and sapphire. It’s no wonder that fine amethyst adorns the fingers of bishops as well as the coronation regalia of British royalty.
The Amethyst is the birthstone for February, one of the emblems of the twelve apostles, and the gem for the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
Also, the traditional color for Valentine’s Day is amethyst, due to an amethyst ring Saint Valentine allegedly wore, which is also believed to be the origin of amethyst as the birth stone of February.