"The February born shall find
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they, the amethyst will wear."
The word "amethyst" comes from the Greek word “amethystos” meaning “not drunk”. It was believed to prevent its wearers from intoxication. The following is a story from Greco-Roman mythology, as quoted from Birthstones by Willard Heaps:
“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.”
Amethysts contain quartz, which is often found lining the insides of geodes (rock cavities with internal crystal formations). Colour can range from a faint mauve to a rich purple, though whether the purple colour arises from the amethysts’ iron oxide content, manganese or hydrocarbons is not clear. The violet color of an amethyst may fade over time.
Amethysts are very sensitive to heat: when heated to 400 or 500 degrees centigrade, the colour changes to a brownish-yellow or red, and sometimes green. Heat may even transform an amethyst into a rare mineral called citrine.
The early Egyptians believed that the amethyst possessed positive powers, and placed the stones in the tombs of pharaohs.
During the Middle Ages, it was used as medication, believed to dispel sleep, sharpen intellect, and protect the wearer from sorcery. It was also believed to bring victory in battle.
In Arabian mythology, the amethyst was supposed to protect the wearer from bad dreams and gout. The amethyst was also the stone of royalty, representing power.