The Book of Revelation in the New Testament of the Bible is an enigmatic read. Full of futuristic visions, puzzling metaphors, and cryptic passages, it is thought to be a prophetic account of the end of times and the emergence of a new heaven and earth after the collapse of spiritually corrupted systems.
The final two chapters of Revelation, 21 and 22, are said to metaphorically describe the heavenly realm, and it is where we find mention of a future holy city made of gold. For gemstone enthusiasts, perhaps the most interesting part is the introduction of the twelve foundation stones of the heavenly city.
Revelation 21:19–20 reads, "The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst."
There’s debate among experts today about the accuracy of this list of foundation stones.
This is because the ancient names of gemstones don’t correspond with our modern mineral classifications. Instead of categorizing gemstones based on their crystalline forms and composition, like we do today, in ancient times stones were named based on their color, place of origin, or how they were used.
The International Gem Society published this list of the twelve foundation stones as the one they believe is the most accurate and correct version: Garnet, Amethyst, Jasper, Diamond, Emerald, Agate, Turquoise, Carnelian, Chrysolite (Peridot), Beryl, Topaz, and Ruby.
Each article in this series will cover the geological properties, historical uses, and metaphysical qualities of one foundation stone. For this month’s article, we are featuring the twelfth foundation stone, Amethyst. Amethyst is the official birthstone of February, and it beautifully supports the current energy of Aquarius season.
Amethyst: Highly prized and popular throughout the ages, Amethyst is a form of quartz that comes in varying shades of purple. Amethyst gets its purple coloration due to iron impurities in the crystalline structure and exposure to heat and radiation. Its crystal system is trigonal, and it has a hardness of 7. Amethyst is the birthstone for February and is assigned to the air element. It is also the official six-year anniversary stone.
The name Amethyst comes from the Greek word amethystos, which means “not drunken.”
Amethyst has a historical association with preventing drunkenness and intoxication that spans back to ancient Egyptian times. Amethyst represented the Egyptian zodiac sign of the goat, which was seen as the opponent of vineyards. Therefore, they believed Amethyst was a remedy for the intoxicating effects of wine.
There is a myth about Bacchus, the Roman god of wine, who was pursuing a nymph named Amethyst. She called upon the goddess Diana to save her from his advances, and Diana turned her into a white crystal. Bacchus poured his wine on the stone as an offering to make things right, and it turned Amethyst purple. The ancient Romans and Greeks drank out of Amethyst-carved glasses, which gave water the appearance of wine, yet they remained sober. It is speculated that this might have contributed to Amethyst’s reputation as a stone that prevents drunkenness.
To the Ancient Egyptians, Amethyst also symbolized wisdom and intellect, and it had healing and protective qualities. In the Book of the Dead, it is written that Amethyst, when worn around the neck with peacock and swallow feathers, would serve as protection and could cure certain ailments. Pliny the Elder (Roman) wrote that if an Amethyst pendant was carved with the sun or moon and accompanied by feathers or baboon hair, it would offer protection from witchcraft, storms, and locusts. What’s even more fascinating is that the Incas had the exact same amulet prescription as the one Pliny described, and it was also used to avert black magic.
Neolithic people in Europe were creating Amethyst beads and artifacts as far back as 25,000 BC. Later, Amethyst became a symbol of royalty, as it was embedded into the crowns, jewelry, and scepters of kings and queens.
Amethyst has also played an important role in Judaism and Christianity. The ancient Hebrews considered it to be a powerful dream stone, used to invoke visions and vivid dreams. In Christianity, it symbolized the wine in communion, the blood of Christ, and goblets were made from it for this purpose. Amethyst is the key gemstone of bishops, as it symbolizes dignity, protection, spirituality, and wisdom. It is set in their rings and worn on the second finger of the right hand. It is also the gemstone assigned to St. Valentine. Amethyst was the ninth stone in the breastplate of the high priest, and it is the last of the twelve foundation stones.
Here are some other interesting folkloric uses of Amethyst: It was believed that you could win the heart of anyone you desired by speaking their name into an Amethyst. Placed under the pillow, it was said to promote sound sleep and good dreams. To cure a headache, an Amethyst was wrapped around the temples or secured to the forehead with silk. It was worn into battle to keep soldiers protected and to ensure victory.
Many of the traditional uses and qualities of Amethyst are still embraced today by modern crystal healers. Amethyst is the purple queen of the mineral kingdom, with the power to address multiple levels of the being. It has a pronounced activating effect on the higher chakras, especially the third eye and crown. It raises the vibrational rate of these chakras and can open the doors of intuition, wisdom, and psychic perception.
Amethyst is calming to the mind and emotions. It balances emotional extremes and clears difficult emotional states such as anxiety, anger, fear, and sadness. Placed beneath the pillow, it is still used today as a remedy for insomnia and to enhance dreams. Used over the third eye, it assists your ability to enter deeper meditative spaces by quieting the monkey mind and easing conscious access to subtle realms, spiritual beings, frequencies, and information from beyond.
Many still attest to Amethyst’s power as a sobriety stone that can help you release addictions and unhealthy escape mechanisms of all kinds. It brings greater insight into the underlying cause of a behavior or habit so that it can be dealt with and healed. It is also known to help ease uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. To this day, Amethyst is still considered a top stone for alleviating headache pain.
Amethyst emits a high vibrational field of light that can clear and protect against various forms of negativity. It transforms harmful energy that you may have picked up from others, such as psychic attacks, auric hooks and cords, entities, and astral debris. It can also address your own negative thoughts and emotions, karmic patterns, and energy blockages. Wearing Amethyst jewelry creates a bubble of protection around you that prevents negativity from infiltrating.
Some may describe the Book of Revelation as being full of ornate symbolism and purple prose. The purple hue cast from Amethyst’s facets adds a spiritually elevating light and frequency to the heavenly city. Treasured throughout time, Amethyst is still popular and beloved today for use in fine jewelry and in metaphysical practices. Stay tuned for the next article in this series, which will dive into the history and properties of the third foundation stone, Jasper.