Last week while I was cleaning up the downstairs, I came across a book called, “The Book of Charms” written by Elizabeth Villers. I found it so interesting that I felt the need to share one of the many really cool stories in the chapter regarding the history of gemstones, in particular, the mythology surrounding the beautiful quartz of amethyst.
Although it is unknown exactly how old the latter idea is involving drunkenness, it is a fact that the ancient Egyptians wore amethyst for that purpose as did the Greeks. Aristotle tells of a legend attesting to its’ power. According to him, this stone was the name of a beautiful nymph who was unfortunate enough to attract the admiration of the wine god Bacchus during one of his drunken celebrations. He pursued her and, horrified at the thought of having such a lover, she prayed to the goddess Diana, whom was the goddess of chastity, that she might be spared from her fate.
Diana heard her prayer and as Bacchus seized her, Amethyst was changed into a gleaming jewel in his hand. As the legend goes, he apparently was sobered by this surprise and, being somewhat ashamed of his actions, endowed the jewel with the rich purple tint of his favorite wine. It was at this time that he ordained that in memory of his love and her chastity, Amethyst should have the power to weaken his influence over his worshippers and spare them from the degradation to which he would drag them.
Even though it is called “The Beneficial Stone,” the amethyst is also known as “The Stone of Love,” “The Stone of Healing” and “The Stone of Peace.” It is the only mascot which is fortunate to all and has no ill effects on anyone. It is also worn, more than any other stone, by bishops on their episcopal rings.
Along the same lines of amethyst being the stone of lovers, tradition adds that St. Valentine wore one constantly. It is also worth noting that St. Valentine was a bishop of the Christian Church and so he most probably had an amethyst ring on his finger. Therefore, amethyst is associated with him as well as the older traditions concerning it. This stone is the most fortunate of all gifts to pass between sweethearts and lovers.