While looking for information about gemstones some years ago, I put together a list of meanings of gemstones that I’ve synthesized to just a few, essential words for each stone (see post from June 20, 2011). I decided to do this because descriptions of the properties of gemstones, even if just intended for fun facts, are usually too long to remember, or too brief to be of much use. Here is what I have for two stones in the Quartz family: Amethyst & Citrine act as purifiers of external energies. Amethyst controls one’s temperament; citrine holds electricity.
|Pink Amethyst drops w/ pink Sapphires http://www.zibbet.com/Livingatnight/artwork?artworkId=573042|
I’ve always thought of amethyst as a stone that was very popular in the Art Deco period, and then experienced a renaissance in the 1970s, when people were once again interested in colorful semiprecious stones, as well as the spiritual and healing properties of stones. Amethysts are beautiful, versatile, and fortunately for us, plentiful on the earth, and relatively inexpensive in stone shops! Perhaps today, we are undergoing a renewed interest in stones, thanks to information on the internet about most subjects, but not coincidentally, thanks to “jewelry television.” If we think about it, most of us can identify our birthstone as well as the color and properties of many gemstones, and that is because the fashion industries greatly profit from our interest in them. But that’s neither here nor there. What is interesting, is that many of us are now conversant about stones.
Going back to the twelve foundation stones on Aaron’s breastplate, we see that the mystical amethyst has been included on the list from biblical times to esoteric books published in early 20th century (see post from January 9, 2012). Amethysts appear along with sapphire, emerald, jasper, sardonyx, chalcedony or agate, topaz, beryl, onyx, chrysoprase, and jacinth or hyacinth– later known as zircon. Diamond appears in the King James Bible, and garnet and ruby show up subsequently.
It would be interesting to speculate whether it was a way to account for all varieties of color in the truest hues– a way to create a sense of balance– thereby the idea of foundation stones. And so, when we think of purple in the color spectrum, the only stone that is consistently chosen to represent it, is amethyst.
As I did in January, here is the list of birthstones assigned to the month of February through ages and cultures:
15th to 20th Century- Amethyst, Hyacinth, Pearl
It seems, for all of you February natives, that if there is one point of agreement in all this theory, it is that the beautiful quartz crystal, the most abundant mineral in the crust of the earth that ranges in color from black and violet, deep purple, to yellow and brown, to white and clearly transparent– the Amethyst– belongs to you!
To be continued tomorrow, with more information about the geological properties of amethysts, as well as thoughts about its healing properties. Happy Birthday!
|“The twilight turns amethyst” James Joyce|
The composition of quartz is SiO2, and it is noted in gemology that the purple color in amethyst quartz is due to traces of manganese. In the Mohs’ scale of hardness (1822), it rates a 7, and its density is 2.65. All in all, quite a respectable gem.
You may be surprised to learn that the stone we know as tiger’s eye is also a quartz and its eye-like banding is due to the minerals it contains. Agate also has some dazzling banding. But the name of quartz is reserved for the transparent variety. So, amethyst and citrine contain iron, titanium and iron in rose quartz, and aluminum in smoky quartz. Have you seen rutilated quartz? These are tree-like needles of metallic oxides. And an important fact to know today, is that the lovely, golden citrine, is comparatively rare — and more expensive– and it is produced commercially by heating or irradiation of amethyst quartz to achieve the yellow of citrine.
Historically, quartz has been known to absorb electromagnetic energy, such as what we, creatures of this world emanate, and to amplify vibrations. This is why quartz was eventually utilized in radio, radar, clocks, and watches. And through the ages, for people attuned to vibrations in healing, amethyst and citrine became important instruments to filter and balance energy. In Thelma Isaacs’ book, Gemstones, Crystals & Healing, there is a mention that Rock Crystal stimulates clairvoyance and “clear sleep,” and if we think about the lore of fortune tellers and diviners who gaze into a crystal ball, this material is of course, rock crystal. Isaacs also makes a fleeting reference to rock crystal being “one of the seven precious stones of Buddhism. (78) This point would make for some fascinating research! Generally, it is Western tradition that is referenced in crystal and stone healing, though it is common knowledge, for instance, that Chinese custom indicates the wearing of jade and carnelian as an amulet of protection– and in modern times, the idea that a jade bracelet protects the wearer from physical harm and will break when it has done its work.
|Amethyst & Moonstone|
Amethyst, in the past 30 or 40 years has come to be associated with temperance and serenity, and became a mystical aid in encouragement for sobriety in 12-Step groups for people dealing with addiction. When we think about the connections we make in relationship to our world, socially and metaphysically, it is not only interesting but heartening to note how they develop. Amethyst and citrine have been regarded as filters, and as balancers of energy; it is highly plausible then that this is how the crystal’s powers as purifiers of toxins in the body came to be used as amulets for mindful concentration against substance abuse.
I will leave you with an anecdote about our lovely amethyst. A friend of mine who was born in February, asked me many years ago to make her a necklace of amethyst beads. She believed firmly in the properties of the stone as healing and purifying. When I gave her the beaded necklace, she told me she had heard that if friends give each other amethysts, and the stones break or come apart, the friendship would also be affected, and she was concerned. Something of the diviner in me told me my friend needed my encouragement in the form of a mantra, a focusing thought she could hold on to in times of stress, so I told her not to worry. I pointed to the 88 beads in the necklace and promised that if it ever broke, we would have 87 more years of friendship.
My friend did feel comforted, and in fact, because she tends to wear her jewelry with great gusto, I have had the chance to make her many amethyst necklaces and amethyst earrings since then, and she always remembers my prediction of 87 more years of friendship. [:)]