Amethyst Rings: History and
The most valuable member of the
quartz family, the amethyst has been around for what seems like ages. Used as a
decorative, etched piece of jewelry or an intaglio, the Egyptians were extremely
fond of the amethyst. However, it is from ancient Greece that the amethyst takes
its somewhat unique name. Roughly translated, amethyst is represented by the
words “not intoxicated”.
You can bet there’s a story to be told here – and
quite a story it is too! In Greek mythology, Dionysus (Bacchus to the Romans)
was the god of vegetation, fruitfulness, and more especially, wine and ecstasy.
It seems that one day, he became insulted by some poor mortal, who rebuffed his
authority. Dionysus was enraged and swore vengeance on all humans who would not
participate in his revels.
A young, innocent virgin named Amethyst was on
her way to pay homage to Diana, goddess of nature, animals and the hunt, as well
as protector of the lower classes. She was unaware of the edict of Dionysus.
Dionysus, on his part, was furious and summoned two tigers to attack and kill
the girl. He then sat back with a goblet of wine, ready to enjoy the show. A
terrified Amethyst called to Diana for help. Diana, in turn, responded just in
the nick of time. Her solution was to transform Amethyst into a shining, white
stone – quartz – which protected her from a horrible death.
Regaining some bit of sobriety, Dionysus was
filled with remorse for what he’d caused to happen and pity for the girl. He
began to sob. As he did so, his tears fell into his cup of wine. Finally,
disconsolate, Dionysus collapsed - his goblet tumbling from his hand. The wine
and god-tear mixture splashed on the white stone, which absorbed the liquid, and
stained it deep purple. This became the gemstone that we know today as amethyst.
According to Exodus, the amethyst was the third
stone in the third row of the breastplate of Aaron, high priest of Israel and
the older brother and spokesman for Moses. Again, according to the Old
Testament, the amethyst represented the tribe of Dan, one of the Twelve Tribes
of Israel – Dan being the 10th son of Jacob.
Also Read about
The Amethyst in the Bible
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