I took over this e-zine when Gail, its originator was unable to continue it. With Gail's permission, I have added her original Rock's of the Week so that everyone can find the information readily. Please feel free to visit Gail's web site at http://www.davesrockshop.com

(February Birthstone)

Amethyst belongs to the quartz family of minerals; Quartz is one of the most commonly found minerals in the earth's crust. The chemical Silica Dioxide (SiO2) forms an important part in quartz and of most other igneous (volcanic) rocks. 

Amethyst is usually blue or violet and sometimes occurs in shades of purple, lilac or mauve. The color is due to the presence of ferric iron and manganese. As much iron as would fit on the head of a pin can color one cubic foot of quartz.   

Amethyst is formed in silica rich liquids deposited in gas cavities (geodes) in lava. Amethyst occurs in crystalline masses, and when conditions permit, it forms hexagonal crystals. Crystals are usually grown from a base. The crystals are generally not well developed, therefore they are generally found as clusters of crystal points. Although it is usually found in geodes amethyst is sometimes found as a stalactite.

Amethyst is the most valuable of the quartz group. Perfect crystals are rare. However, when they are found, they are cut as gems or collected as mineral specimens. Amethyst is dichroic, showing a bluish or reddish purple tinge when viewed from different angles. Amethyst has distinctive inclusions that look like tiger stripes, thumbprints or feathers.

Deep tones of amethyst tend to be most favored. Rich sources of good quality crystals come from Russia in the Ural Mountains, Brazil, and Uruguay, though it is also found in over twenty countries around the world. 

Sometimes amethyst is heat treated to produce the yellow variety of quartz known as citrine. Prasiolite is green amethyst claimed to be found near hot springs. Heat treatment between 878 and 1382 degrees F produce light yellow, red, brown, green or colorless varieties. 

There are some amethysts that loose color in daylight. Keeping amethyst out of direct sunlight will help maintain its color. The original color of amethyst can be restored by x-ray radiation. Next time you get an x-ray see if the technician will let you bring some amethyst along to test. 

Variety of: Quartz
Chemical Composition: SiO2 Silicon Dioxide
Hardness: 7

There is a wide spread history of amethyst crystals being used for healing and magnifying psychic energy. It has been called the long distance healer. Shamans of various tribal societies used amethyst crystals as power objects. 

Amethyst is traditionally thought to have strong talismanic properties. Amethyst crystals are still used in forms of natural healing. For example, in traditional Chinese medicine, ground amethyst is prescribed for stomach pains and bad dreams.

Amethysts were thought to induce a sober mind. The name is derived from the Greek word Amethystos, which means "against drunkenness." Amethyst is still worn as an amulet against drunkenness. 

Amethyst was a favorite gemstone of high officials of the Christian Church. Drinking vessels were sometimes made of amethyst. Water or watered down wine served in these vessels looked like wine but without the intoxicating effects. Even the most pious host remained sober while seeming to drink freely. Servants could serve water to already drunk guests who would not know the difference. Particularly parsimonious hosts could serve watered down wine and no one would be the wiser. Therefore the name "Bishops stone." 

In Greek Lit there is a gem city. The altars in this city were said to be amethysts of enormous size. In the Bible, it was the 12th stone of the 12 stones that garnished the walls of heaven. It was deemed to represent humility. An amethyst ring is associated with Tuesday.

A 16th century French verse tells how Bacchus, the god of wine, declares in a rage that the first person he passes will be eaten by tigers. This turns out to be a beautiful maiden called Amethyst. The goddess Diana quickly turns Amethyst into a white stone to save her from the tigers. Regretting his anger, Bacchus pours red wine over the stone as an offering to Diana, so turning the stone purple.

Amethyst keeps one in touch with the more noble and spiritual side. It helps to instill the highest ideals and urges one to do the best thing even if it is not the most self-serving. It enables one to discern the actions that would best serve all. Amethyst helps one remember there is time enough for everything. It enables one to stay in the present moment and truly connect with what is going on with oneself and others.

Amethyst cures impatience, and alleviates feelings of victimization. Amethyst has a calming effect, balancing high-energy, highly driven or highly creative people. Amethyst eliminates chaos, and helps keep one grounded.

Amethyst is said to help with diseases associated with any form of drunkenness, as well as giving aid and healing to those who are alcoholics. Claimed to have the highest vibration of all gems, amethyst can bring about the well being of the entire planet.

Amethyst allows in only positive energies, deep purple or very pale being the most powerful. Amethyst is said to be highly protective, to be carried or worn when around negative or hostile people. Amethyst is excellent for meditation and aura work.

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