Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz with a hardness of 7 Mohs.
Because of its wine-like colour, early Greek legends associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine and it was believed that wearing amethyst prevented drunkenness. Other legends reflected the belief that amethyst kept its wearer clear-headed and quick-witted in battle and in business affairs.
A natural unenhanced fine amethyst of an intense rich purple is one to be truly admired. The most valuable amethysts are prized for their depth of continual colour, a velvety richness of purple with a hint of blue. The colour of amethyst can vary from lilac, pale purple, lavender, through to deep mauve and pinky purple. Vividly coloured amethysts have come from the old mines of Siberia, Brazil and Ceylon.
Natural amethyst has been held in high regard and has been seen as a symbol of power over the centuries, featured in both Crown Jewels and Bishop’s Stirrup rings during the Medieval period. The symbolism of colours in Christian jewellery of that time was highly significant- amethyst’s purple colour symbolised penitence and is the liturgical colour for the seasons of Lent and Advent.