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A Stone to Save Heavy Drinkers

Joint project of St.-Petersburg Mining museum and Forpost Nord-West.
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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

This stone is a real treasure for it can relieve symptoms of those suffering from hangover or alcohol intoxication.

In Ancient Rome, it was believed that a person who took a piece of amethyst with them could be drinking wine with no fear of consequences. That is what the mineral was sold for. It was quite easy to buy, and it was available both in the form of an amulet and as a bowl for wine.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

According to the legend, Dionysus, the Greek god of wine and winemaking, fell in love with a nymph called Amethyst. The damsel did not, however, return the compliment since she had feelings for a shepherd, and the god decided to take her by force. Luckily, Artemis, the Greek goddess of the hunt whom the maiden asked for help, came in time and turned her into a transparent stone. Dionysus tried to revive the statue by pouring grape juice onto it, yet nothing happened. The nymph did not recover, though her figure became of a blue-purple colour. The legend says that all of the world’s amethyst originates from that stone statue.

In fact, there was also a practical use for the gem back then. Ancient Greeks used to drink wine that was heady and thick. Water was added into the beverage to make it less strong, and amethyst was in some way an indicator. Alcohol concentration was thought to be the best if the wine had a colour resembling the one of a lilac amethyst.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Not only hard drinkers favoured amethyst but also loving couples. In 19th-century Europe, lovers often gifted the gem to one another. There was a belief that the mineral could break the bond between two people and make a person fancy the gift giver. Therefore no one would at that time accept a jewel with amethyst from a total stranger for fear of falling in love accidentally.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Amethyst was noted to have healing properties as well. During epidemics of the Middle Ages, people always had amethyst on them, as it was supposed to help the body to fight infections. Patients with fever were, in turn, given an infusion made of water in which the mineral was kept for twelve hours. At present, lithotherapists suggest amethyst for treating insomnia. Amethyst is also applied in cosmetology wherein freckles and pigment spots are removed with the stone.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Except for collectable items, amethyst is hardly a rare mineral. At the same time, stone specimens look spectacularly. It is also the first-ever stone that was made use of in jewellery.

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Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Jewels with amethyst are well-known and widespread, but one should note that some precautions should be nonetheless followed. If exposed to sunlight, the mineral might lose its colour and become transparent. For this reason, amethyst jewellery must be kept away from direct sunlight.