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Amethyst ovals and drop

Origin and technical

The amethyst, simple silicon dioxide (quartz), owns its colour to a very small quantity of iron and aluminium distributed in the crystal structure.
The amethyst shares, with its sister citrine, the same main colouring agent: iron. The difference of colour between the both is due to their different oxidation states of iron in the structure. Clear amethyst is often heated to become citrine.
The stone resulting from the combination of the two colours of amethyst and citrine in a single crystal is called ametrine.

Myths and facts

For more than 5 000 years, amethyst has been used as ornament in Europe and Asia.
Purple was considered a royal colour so itís not surprising that amethyst was in great demand during history.
Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethyst had the power to dissipate bad thoughts and to sharpen intelligence.
Symbolising the devotion and supposed to encourage the celibacy, amethyst was strongly searched by churches in the Middle Ages for their ornamentations. It was particularly considered as the stone of bishops who still wear it often.
Amethyst was also appreciated as a strong antidote against drunkenness and even today this gemstone symbolises sobriety. Nowadays, ceremonial wines are still drunk in cups made of amethyst.
The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from a Greek myth. Bacchus, the god of wine, was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that would cross his path. In order to perform this, he created fierce tigers. Along came the unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws of the tigers. Bacchus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.
Ancient Egyptians related amethyst to the zodiacal sign of Libra, formerly called Goat. The goat, liking grapes, went devastating vineyards and so another antidote of the wine and the drunkenness has been created this way.
The powerful always liked amethysts. They were favourite stones of the Egyptian nobles as well as the British Royalty. Very beautiful amethysts are set on the Crown jewels.
Catherine the Great of Russia, big fan of this stone, sent thousands of workers to dig in the Russian mines in search for the best quality, thus creating the famous "Siberian" quality.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gemstone for the astrological sign of Pisces.

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