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Amethyst is a type of quartz (SiO2).  It has a brilliant clarity and luster.  It has a hardness of 7 on the Moh's scale.  The color, depending upon where the stone is found, ranges from a pale lavender-pink ( Rose de France) to a deep and intense purple (Siberian).

It was believed that the amethyst protected one from the excesses of alcohol and other overindulgence.  It was also known to have a calming and soothing influence when worn or applied to the physical body.  It was often placed under the pillow at bedtime to abate insomnia and to induce pleasant and healing dreams.

The amethyst is said to have remarkable effects upon the brain, inducing mental clarity and precognitive vision concerning practical things, and it is believed to aid meditation.

Known as the stone of royalty, and the Bishop's Stone, the amethyst is still worn on the second finger of the right hand of a Catholic Bishop to symbolize ecclesiastical dignity.