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Aries: Amethyst And Bloodstone

[Legends Of Gems]  [Diamonds And Zirconia]  [Color In Gems]  [Birthstones] 
[Aquarius Gems]  [Pisces Gems]  [Aries Gems]  [Taurus Gems]  [Gemini Gems]  [Cancer Gems]  [Leo Gems]  [Virgo Gems]  [Libra Gems]  [Scorpio Gems]  [Saggitarius Gems]  [Capricorn Gems] 

( Orginally published November 1937 )

The amethyst has long attracted attention because of its delicate shades of lavender. It was one of the colorful stones chosen by the ancient Egyptians for its decorative effect in elaborate jeweled pectorals and breastplates. It was supposed to have magic power to protect its wearer from harm in war or in peace. In Judean lore it was held to endow its possessor with excellent judgment.

From the meaning of the word, "without intoxication," many legends have developed: that the wearer of the amethyst would be preserved from the harmful effects of drinking; that wine in cups carved from amethyst crystal would not intoxicate, but would assure sleep and pleasant dreams, peace of mind and freedom from temptation.

In most countries the legends agree that the the amethyst is a beneficent stone. It is worn by the tiller of the soil with the assurance that his crops will be protected from hail and wind and insect pests; by the hunter in the belief that game will be plentiful and easily obtained; by suppliants to officials with the certainty that they will be successful in their petitions. Men seeking to marry above their station believed that the amethyst would prejudice high-born women in their favor and would make them shrewd in contracting marriage settlements as well as in conducting business of a general nature. In many countries an amethyst amulet dedicated to a house would protect it from theft and pillage.

Medicinally the amethyst was considered efficacious in curing nervous troubles and in calming fears. It was held to dispel the dangers of contagion during a plague. Crusaders wore the amethyst in the firm belief that the diseases of strange lands would not affect them and that the injuries on the battlefield would not disable them.

The amethyst was frequently chosen for rosaries because of its power to keep the owner calm and undisturbed. Pliny recorded that in Egypt an amethyst engraved with the symbol of the sun or the moon was the most sustaining of jewels. Worn by bishops, an amethyst ring shed the influence of peace and holiness over its beholders. This stone was one of those often chosen for the episcopal ring of the bishop before the sapphire was ordained by Innocent III for that use.

Perhaps because St. Valentine was a bishop, he popularized the amethyst as the stone sacred to his day and thus to lovers. It came to be regarded as a fortunate gift for sweethearts to exchange, the symbol of pure love. Worn by Roman matrons, the amethyst ring or amulet was believed to preserve the affections of their husbands. Because it was the symbol of pure affection, the amethyst was the only colored stone considered appropriate for mourning wear.

Cleopatra wore a signet ring of amethyst engraved with the figure of Mithras, a Persian deity symbolizing the Divine Idea, Source of Light and Life. One of the most famous rings among the British crown jewels is set with an amethyst taken from the ring of Edward the Confessor, which by tradition was endowed with power to protect against contagious diseases and the plague.

In view of the fact that violet is the color symbolic of the Aquarian age which is approaching, the amethyst is likely to be more and more in demand. With the present advancement in cutting precious stones to display their depth of color and brilliance, the amethyst will probably become one of the most highly prized of precious stones. It has the highest vibration of all the gems, reputed to be throbbing at the rate of forty-two trillion beats per second.

The bloodstone is a green jasper flecked with blood-red spots. Legend tells that it originated at the time of the crucifixion, with drops of blood falling on the jasper stones at the foot of the cross. Strange powers have been attributed to it from time to time, I'liny recording that under the spell of certain magic words, it had the power of making the wearer invisible. It was supposed to retain the ability of ordinary jasper to reveal plots of an enemy and to sustain courage in danger. It gave to its wearer the good will of his companions and influenced him to regard them with consideration. It assured success to the wearer in any venture where a hard struggle was involved, but a calm mind was needed.

Because the bloodstone, as well as other shades of jasper, is hard enough to take a good polish, it was used for engraved seals and cameos. As a thumb ring it was a favored emblem of the Egyptians, who frequently chose a design showing the rays of the sun, always a powerful symbol in their religious worship of the sun god. Many churches and museums of the Old World possess altar vessels and furniture made of jasper or inlaid with it.

Soothsayers of old claimed that the bloodstone was emblematic of wisdom, courage, and vitality. The wearer of this stone was assured of health and strength, both physical and mental. It was the favored stone of Roman athletes, who attributed their endurance to its magic power.

For some unrecorded reason the bloodstone was a stone held in high reverence by cattle breeders during medieval times. Also gardeners believed that it protected them against the bites of poisonous insects or serpents. Roman soldiers ascribed to this stone the power to stop the bleeding of wounds, either by the direct contact with the stone or by the application of the powdered form. In modern times it has been suggested that this curative effect is due to the presence of iron oxide, an astringent used today in surgery.

It is a strange fact that such widely separated races as the Arabs and the aborigines of North America preferred the bloodstone cut in the shape of a heart to ward off the evil eye. Indeed, in ancient times few houses were so poor as not to own a bloodstone for its curative and protective powers. The person and his possessions were doubly protected if the gem was also his birthstone.

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