Amethyst is a violet and purple variation of quartz, often used as jewelry. The name for amethyst comes from the ancient greek 'μέθυστος (methustos)' which means intoxication. The ancient Greek and Romans believed the stone had the ability to protect from insobriety, and they wore amethyst as jewelry, as well as making glasses from the stone to counteract the effects of alcohol. This beautiful stone was also used by the Ancient Egyptians as a gemstone, and the Medieval European soldiers carried the stone with them as protection during battle. Amethyst comes in different shades of violet and purple, and sometimes, through the right lighting, they can show blue and red. Green quartz is sometimes named Green Amethyst.
The amethyst is the traditional birthstone of the month of February, my month.
In coincidence, my mother has a cluster sample of it, which was handed down to her by her grandmother. The properties for this stone range from protection against poison to witchcraft, to spirituality and spiritual wisdom. One property every one includes, however, is the stone's healing ability. It can soothe a headache by rubbing it across the forehead, and cure insomnia by sleeping with it under the pillow. Until the 18th century, Amethyst was a very valuable gemstone, alongside diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds. But then the world found a substantial amount in Brazil, and the stone has lost it's value to this day. One pigmentation, however, is considerably rare, the Deep Russian, which is a deep violet with prominent red hues. This grade of Amethyst, when one is found, receives more attention than even the highest grade sapphires or rubies, indicating, Amethyst is still valued.
It can be found in Canada, USA, Brazil, South Korea, Russia, India and Zambia, along with other places.
I personally love this stone, I find the shades of violet to be extremely beautiful. It is, however, a little brittle, and dropping them on the hard ground can cause damage. I do not know which is better: the ruby, or the amethyst. One thing for sure though, I can only afford the amethyst!