Amethyst is of a violet colour, bordering on purple. Plutarch says the amethyst takes its name from its colour, which according to him resembles wine mixed with water. The ancients supposed it prevented drunkenness, by being hung about the necks of great drinkers. The oriental kind, which is the hardest, scarcest; and most valuable, is of a dove colour. The German is of a violet colour; and that of Carthagena has the colour of a pansy. There are beautiful ones found in the Pyrenees, and in the mountains of Auvergne. The amethyst consist of rock crystal coloured with iron. This stone is not extremely hard, and may be cut with a leaden wheel, smeared with emery moistened in water. It is polished on a pewter wheel with tripoli. It is easily engraven on, either in bas or alto relievo.
When this stone was first prized is not known; it was the ninth in place upon the breastplate of the Jewish high priests, and the name Issachar was engraved upon it. It is of a rich violet colour, and, according to Plutarch, takes its name from its colour, resembling wine mixed with water. One worth 200 rix-dollars having been rendered colourless, equalled a diamond-in lustre, valued at 18.000 gold crowns. -De Boot Hist. Gemmarum. Amethysts were discovered at Kerry, in Ireland, in 1755.