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The semi-precious Amethyst, rich in history, lore and legend, has been revered in numerous ancient cultures. Amethyst can be traced back as far as 25,000 years ago where it was used as a decorative stone by prehistoric humans; it has been found among the remains of Neolithic man.
The stone’s name derives from an Ancient Greek / Roman legend, and the Ancient Greek word for ametusthos, meaning “not intoxicated.” Due to the legend of Amethyst and Dionysus (Rome’s Bacchus), ancient wearers believed that the purple stone could ward off drunkenness perpetrated by the intoxicating powers of the god of wine. As such, the stone is associated with sobriety, stability, security, peace, and spirituality.
Wisdom is also frequently associated with this gem. It was believed that amethyst, sometimes called the “All-healer” promotes heightened intuition, clear-mindedness and calmness. Ancient civilizations referred to is as a “Gem of Fire”, and believed it protected the wearer from unrest, ‘the evil eye’, self-deception, as well as witchcraft. The rich purple color of the stone also came to symbolize royalty and nobility, and often graced the crowns of kings and emperors. In ancient times, the stone was known as the “Bishop’s Stone” for its symbolism of piety, humility, sincerity and spiritual wisdom; it is still worn by Catholic Bishops today. Catholic priests wore amethyst in rings for centuries as a ‘clear mind’ talisman, and to protect themselves from mystical intoxication.
At times in history, it was worth as much as the rarer Diamond. Now, we know that this purple stone can be found in every corner of earth. In addition to all its qualities, Amethyst is the official gemstone for the sixth anniversary of marriage.
Bacchus, the god of wine in classical mythology, was offended by Diana the huntress. Determined on revenge, he declared that the first person he met as he went through the forest would be eaten by his tigers. As it happened, the first person to cross his path was the beautiful maiden Amethyst on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana. In terror, she called upon the goddess to save her, and before his eyes, Bacchus observed the maiden changed to a pure white, sparkling image of stone. Realizing his guilt and repenting his cruelty, Bacchus poured grape wine over her, thus giving the stone the exquisite violet hue of the amethyst. The carryover to non-intoxication was quite logical, and in ancient Rome, amethyst cups were used for wine, so drinkers would have no fear of overindulgence.
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