The amethyst is not only beautiful, and the birthstone of February, but is also -according to several myths and legends- the great way to prevent getting drunk. Those great stories tell us what the amethyst has to do with the AA. Let me explain this!
What is in the name ‘amethyst’?
The name ‘amethystos’ means in the old Greek language ‘not drunken’ or ‘not intoxicated’. And drink your favorite alcohol drink from a goblet made from amethyst was in the old time a great way not to get drunk. Even when the alcohol was poured in abundantly. Amethyst was considered to be a perfect and strong antidote against alcohol and drunkenness.
The next question is of course whether this is true or only a great story. Or a fine excuse when you get drunk and used an amethyst glass, to blame the amethyst for it.
How the amethyst became an antidote?
A French poet, called Remy Belleau (1528-1577) wrote a poem ‘L’Amethyste, ou les amours de Bacchus et d’Amethyste’. In this poem, the Greek god Bacchus is chasing a girl called Amethyste. Bacchus is – by the way- the god of the wine and grapes and the god of intoxication.
Amethyste does not like his affections and refuses them. But Bacchus is not a member of the ‘Me-Too’ movement and doesn’t take NO for an answer. She can not expect any help so she prays to the goddess Diana (goddess of the chaste). She wants Diana to help her to remain chaste and to get rid of Bacchus.
I really don’t know why Diana did not sue Bacchus for his behavior, but she decided to transform Amethyste into a pure white stone. Bacchus spoils his good wine over the white stone as an offering and the white stone turned into purple: the amethyst.
The Romans had their own version
The Romans had their challenges with wine too and they had a story about Dionysus, the god of the grape harvest and of the wine and the winemaking. Dionysus is a god with long toes. He was insulted by a mortal, for crying out loud. And he is looking for revenge.
He makes a promise to himself that the first mortal he met, he would deal with by force. He needs some help doing that, so he creates strong tigers to help him out. But the first mortal he comes across is a young innocent girl, called Amethystos, who is on her way to the temple of Artemis.
Artemis realizes that she is in danger and transforms her into a statue of pure white crystalline quartz. Looking was has happened Dionysos felt remorse and he cries ‘tears of wine’ over the statue. And those tears of wine colors the quartz purple’: the amethyst.
What the amethyst has to do with the AA?
It may be clear that the girl Amethyste or Amethystos is the victim of a drunken god, who could not keep his hands to himself. It is a pity for her that the only way to help her out was transforming her into a stone, a gemstone though. And it is clear that she doesn’t want to have anything to do with alcohol and certainly not with wine. She could be a great symbol for the AA movement. Why don’t they think about that themselves?
About the gemstone ‘the amethyst’
The amethyst is quartz and has a purple to violet color. It is mined in a lot of places and easy to come by. The amethyst has a base and the crystal peeks ‘grow’ on top of it. The peeks of the crystals are the deepest purple and coming down the color gets weaker.
There are varieties, that are light yellow, red-brown and even light green. They are not natural but people put the purple amethyst in a fire of 470-750 grades and then the purple amethyst turns into different colors.
The price of the amethyst depends on the deepness of the color purple. The deeper the color, the more expensive they get.
When you want to see a really really great amethyst you have to go to the British Museum in London, where they have a polished amethyst of 343 carats. Or to the Smithsonian Institution in Washinton DC, where you can see an amethyst of 1362 carats. That is huge and not suited for a ring or another piece of jewelry.
When you are interested in jewelry and in gemstones? I wrote a free e-book about birthstones and the amethyst is in there, among a lot of other gemstones. Just let me know where to end it too and I personally take care that you get it.
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