Amethyst is the violet gem stone from South America which is used in the preparation of ornaments. Amethyst is basically a semiprecious stone and is the traditional birthstone for February. The biggest deposits with the greatest economic significance are in various states in southern Brazil and in neighboring Uruguay. The third major export country is Madagascar. However, this gemstone is spread all over the world as it is mined in the United States, Russia, South Korea, Austria and Canada.
Amethyst is actually a purple variety of quartz and its colour is caused by iron (Fe4+) impurities in the 10s to 100s parts per million range. If this violet gem stone is heated, amethyst turns yellow-orange, yellow-brown, or dark brownish, and thus resembles the quartz variety citrine. Amethyst has also historical and cultural significance as in the ancient Egypt it was largely employed in antiquities. The Greeks believed amethyst gems could prevent intoxication, while medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people and keep them cool-headed.
In earlier times, people liked to drink wine from amethyst cups, which brings us back to the stone’s protective function against alcoholism. According to the ancient Greek saga, Diana turned a nymph whom Bacchus loved into an amethyst; hence the term Bacchus stone. Anyone wishing to protect a drunkard from delirium mixed some pulverized amethyst into the person’s drink.