Amethyst gets its name from the Greek "amethustos" meaning sober or "not intoxicated", appropriate as the ability to protect the owner not only from strong drink but other toxins is a theme that occurs time and again with the legends concerning this stone. Amethyst is actually the purple variety of quartz, caused by impurities such as manganese. In addition to preventing poisoning, the amethyst in myth possesses a lesser know property, that being the ability to quill passions and cure madness. It is this calming effect that was said to provide the merchant with shrewd business sense and restore a soldier's courage. This trait is also what earned the amethyst a place on the finger of catholic bishops and the title "Bishop's Stone".

A beautiful Greek legend tells how the stone gained these properties, it goes as follows:
               Dionysus was annoyed at some slight he had received from a mortal, and vowed that the next mortal who came down the road would be torn apart by tigers. As it happens Amethyst, a maiden pure of form and spirit, was on her way to the temple of Diana. When the tigers set upon Amethyst she cried out to Diana for help. Hearing this Diana spared Amethyst form a most horrible fate by turning her into a statue; since her soul was so chaste she became pure rock crystal. Upon seeing this miracle Dionysus poured a libation upon the frozen statue of Amethyst turning it purple, and swore that whoever bore her likeness would forever be free from his wrath. Dionysus is the god of debauchery, wine, and mad revelry so it is from the darker aspects of these things that Amethyst is said to protect from.

Purple, from pale lilac to almost black.                     
Brazil and Russia are considered prime deposits, though it is found worldwide.
Si02, Quartz family.

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