AMETHYST (ἀμέθυστος, Rev 21:20)
A variety of quartz of rock-crystal, of purple or bluish violet colour. Derived from ἀ, ‘not,’ and μεθύσκειν, ‘to intoxicate,’ it was regarded as a charm against the effects of wine. Quaffed from a cup of amethyst, or by a reveller wearing an amulet of that substance, the vine-juice could not intoxicate. This was doubtless a case of sympathetic magic, wine being amethystine in colour. In the LXX (Ex 28:19, etc.) ‘amethyst’ stands for aḥlāmāh, a stone which was regarded as a charm against bad dreams. The amethyst was used as a gem-stone by the ancient Egyptians, and largely employed in classical antiquity for intaglios. Naturally it was often engraved with Bacchanalian subjects. Being comparatively abundant, it is inferior in price to true gems, and is not to be confounded with the oriental amethyst, a variety of corundum, or sapphire of amethystine tint, which is a very valuable gem of great brilliancy and beauty.