Amethyst, the gemstone believed by ancient Greeks and Romans to ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus, also was said to keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted. Throughout history, the gemstone has been associated with many myths, legends, religions, and numerous cultures. English regalia were even decorated with amethysts during the Middle Ages to symbolize royalty. Amethyst jewelry has been found and dated as early as 2000 BC.
Some historical accounts say that Saint Valentine had an amethyst ring carved with an image of Cupid. For those familiar with Old Testament history, amethyst was one of the twelve gemstones that represented the twelve tribes of Israel.
For many years, amethyst was held to be one of the most precious gemstones, often favored by royalty or exclusively by the clergy as a symbol for the deity of Christ. It was even held for many years in the same regard as the diamond. It wasn’t until the discovery of more abundant supplies of amethyst that it became a gemstone enjoyed by more than just the wealthiest buyers.
Many wearers of amethyst throughout history and even today prize the gem for its symbolism as well as its beauty. Leonard da Vinci once said that amethyst helps to quicken intelligence and get rid of evil thoughts. Other qualities like peace, stability, courage, and strength are said to be derived from this gemstone.
Today, many wearers simply prize the amethyst gemstone for its beautiful shade of purple, and the way it complements both warm and cool colors.