Origin of amethyst
OTHER WORDS FROM amethystam·e·thys·tine [am-uh-this-tin, -tahyn], /ˌæm əˈθɪs tɪn, -taɪn/, adjectiveam·e·thyst·like, adjective
Words nearby amethyst
MORE ABOUT AMETHYST
What does amethyst mean?
Amethyst is a transparent purple gemstone.
It is a variety of quartz whose color can range from pale lilac to a deep purple with red or blue undertones.
Amethyst is considered a semiprecious gem, which is a label assigned to some gemstones that have a lesser value than those considered precious. The darkest varieties of amethyst are usually valued the highest. It is sometimes mistaken for more expensive precious stones, such as purple sapphire.
Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February. It is associated with the zodiac signs Aquarius and Pisces.
The word amethyst is also sometimes used to refer to a purple color, like that of the stone.
Example: The brilliant purple amethyst really made the necklace stand out.
Where does amethyst come from?
What could a beautiful gemstone possibly have to do with hangover cures and antifreeze?
In terms of composition, amethyst is a type of silica mineral quartz. Its vibrant purple coloring can be attributed to the presence of iron oxide.
But the origin of the word indicates that it was once beloved for very different reasons than its purple color.
Amethyst entered English in the late 1200s from Latin amethystus, in turn from the Greek améthystos. Hazard a guess as to what améthystos literally meant in the ancient tongue of Plato and Aristotle? It meant “not intoxicating, not intoxicated.” (We’re not drunk, we promise!) Greek améthystos joins the prefix a-, meaning “not, without,” and a form of the verb methýein, “to intoxicate.”
Now, in ancient folklore, amethyst was believed to prevent people from getting drunk, and so imbibers wearing the stone could drink without feeling any of the consequences. It is important to note here that what the ancients called amethyst probably wasn’t the quartz variety we refer to today but maybe corundum or sapphire.
This superstition was already known to the ancients. Roman scholar Pliny the Elder even noted the amethyst myth in his encyclopedic Natural History. In one passage, Pliny described how magicians promised amethyst, in addition to its boozy benefits, would both ward off poisons and get face time with kings—if a person carved into it the names of the sun and the moon and wore the gem along with baboon hair and sparrow feathers. There was just something about wine-colored stones, apparently.
Amethyst continues to inspire modern myths, as it were. For instance, the popular animated TV show Steven Universe features a character named Amethyst, a magical sentient alien gemstone whose purple appearance reflects the color of the beautiful mineral. The acclaimed fantasy series, The Broken Earth Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin features powerful obelisks made from minerals, including amethyst.
If we break down Greek methýein, “to intoxicate,” we can find that this verb is based on the noun methý, meaning, appropriately enough, “wine.” You may be more familiar with methý than you think (and we don’t mean, “it’s always five o’clock somewhere …”). Methý is related to the English word mead, “an alcoholic liquor made by fermenting honey and water”—the stuff those Anglo-Saxons guzzled down in their great halls in Beowulf.
And speaking of the word alcohol, you may have heard of methyl alcohol. This liquid (which you definitely shouldn’t drink) is used as solvent, a fuel, and an automobile antifreeze. Methyl alcohol is also called methanol. Both methyl and methanol derive in part from Greek methý, as do many other related words in chemistry, including methane, methamphetamine, and, lest we forget, hexamethylenetetramine. Discover more at our etymology of methylene.
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How is amethyst used in real life?
Amethyst is commonly used in jewelry and is known for being the February birthstone.
Amethyst gemstones have been found in ruins dating as far back as the 9th century. Archaeologists have found Amethyst gems in many historically significant pieces, including crowns, scepters and jewelry adorned with them, & battle-ready breastplates set with the purple gemstone. pic.twitter.com/1HrhAVhXYq
— Jewelers Suite (@JewelersSuite) February 22, 2021
Look what I just made 🥺
Rose gold single halo ring- Pink Amethyst Centre stone, 10x8mm.
This pink amethyst has a gorgeous but subtle lilac/pale pink hue. Its a 100% natural faceted amethyst. The stone has a checker cut top, and a pointed bottom.
Birthstone of February! pic.twitter.com/Y06SZoykca
— HookedonHandmade• BLM ✊🏾 (@hookedonhandmad) February 20, 2021
My mother in law, a self taught nail enthusiast for about 2 yrs now, did some early birthday nails for me over the weekend. I wanted something kinda amethyst like and this was what we worked out. My birthstone and fav color is 🟣 so this fandom was like destiny 😉💜 pic.twitter.com/JOAxbL9tOb
— ᴍᴇɢᴛᴀɴ⁷ 🕷🐰 (@suga_swtness) February 23, 2021
Try using amethyst!
True or False?
Amethyst is a variety of quartz.
How to use amethyst in a sentence
Customers can also enter to win a nacho-shaped amethyst crystal endorsed by Pratt, who has his own crystal business to complete the pivot from reality star to sus LA healing dude.Yo Quiero My Taco Bell Nacho Crystal!|Jaya Saxena|October 7, 2021|Eater
I shouted to Ave as we skipped through amethyst lupine fields on the way back to our cars.Teetering on the Edge of Volcanoes|Emily Pennington|March 3, 2021|Outside Online
Iggy Azalea was born Amethyst Amelia Kelly in New South Wales.The Cultural Crimes of Iggy Azalea|Amy Zimmerman|December 29, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Azalea—then Amethyst Kelly—was born in Sydney and moved to Miami when she was 16.Stop Being So Surprised By the Rise of Iggy Azalea|Kevin Fallon|May 30, 2014|DAILY BEAST
The presence of phenol causes a deep amethyst-blue color, as in Uffelmann's test for lactic acid.A Manual of Clinical Diagnosis|James Campbell Todd
She looked down at the logs—smouldering now and with no more flame of rose-pink and amethyst.A Butterfly on the Wheel|Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
The amethyst glow went off the hills that ring our valley, and a far blue peak faded into the gathering 65 dusk.
And she wore the Medici boots, the amethyst tips peeping beneath her shining dress.The Medici Boots|Pearl Norton Swet
The pageant of autumn on our hills was 263 over, only an amethyst haze succeeding at sunset time.