Because of its wine-like hue, early Greek legends associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. The stone was believed to prevent intoxication and addictions in general – in ancient Greek language amethystos means not drunk. Different legends made amethyst into a stone that helped its wearer to remain calm, clear-headed and sharp in battle, and in business affairs. More than anything, amethyst became a symbol of fidelity and temperance. Even Leonardo Da Vinci found that the stone protected him from evil thoughts and stimulated his intellect. Considering the above, it is quite clear why it was one of the favourite stones of the royals – it helped the leaders focus when making important decisions. And the clergy men liked amethyst as it enabled restraint, thus helping them keep their vows of celibacy.
Amethysts, mined in Brazil, became very fashionable and expensive during 18th century France and England. However, in 19th century the amethyst deposits were also discovered in Ural mountains of Russia making the stone affordable. The amethyst is a Pisces zodiac stone and birthstone for the month of February. It is also known as the stone of St. Valentine.
The February-born shall find,
Sincerity and peace of mind,
Freedom from passion and from care,
If they an amethyst will wear.
(Gregorian birthstone poem.)
Initially, Valentine´s Day was a Christian holiday celebrated to remember a priest named Valentine of Rome. He was martyred on February 14th in 269, and made into a Saint Valentine in 496. The stories indicate that Valentine was put in jail, because he organised marriages for soldiers not allowed to marry, and practiced Christianity when it was forbidden. The Roman Emperor Claudius II had outlawed marriage between young couples, for he thought that unwed young men made better soldiers as they had no ties to a wife and children. Valentine defied the government’s ban and married couples in secret, believing that marriage was a gift from God.
In the Roman Empire the image of cupid was a legal symbol representing love. It is said that St Valentine wore a purple amethyst ring with an engraved cupid so that Roman soldiers could recognise him, and ask for his marriage services. This is probably why Valentine’s Day became so popular day for marriage proposals as it traces back to the forbidden marriages facilitated by Valentine.
Leon Bazile Perrault Cupid's Arrow St. Valentine, Terni, Italy
However, the widespread celebration of Valentine´s Day as a romantic day did not take place until the 17th century. From then on cards and tokens of affection were exchanged on this day. Before, during the Middle Ages, February 14 was known as the beginning of bird’s mating season, but this slowly added to the idea the Valentine’s Day should be a day of romance. The first link between romantic love and Valentine’s Day was made when the English poet Geoffrey Chaucer wrote “Parliament of Foules” (ca 1375). This poem, which received a lot of attention, referred to birds finding their mate on February 14th.
St Valentine, Cupid, and forbidden romance all helped polishing amethyst into a stone of pure love, faithful lovers, and fidelity. It became a “couple´s stone” with ability to manifest soulful and deep emotional connection between lovers. And, in case the connection was somehow lost, the stone would be helpful in bringing the lost love back.
And if all this is not enough, this pretty stone was also credited for its ability to increase faith and wisdom, diligence in prayer and religious practices, assistance in prophecy, protection from poisonous substances and sorcery, discernment and suppression of evil thoughts and evil forces, guidance for travellers, indications of deterioration in health, seeing and interpreting prophetic dreams and visions concerning future events. Did I mention that amethyst is thought to attract good fortune?
Crown princess Victoria of Sweden wearing the Napoleonic Amethyst Tiara
ABOUT THIS BLOG
Welcome! :) My name is Monika. I am interested in beauty, art, different cultures, and good stories. I have always been fascinated with semiotics and symbols, and how people of different cultures interpret them.