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Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems. The Greeks believed amethyst gems could prevent intoxication, while medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle in the belief that amethysts heal people and keep them cool-headed. Beads of amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England. Western Christian bishops wear an episcopal ring often set with an amethyst, an allusion to the description of the Apostles as “not drunk” at Pentecost in Acts 2:15. Tibetans consider amethyst sacred to the Buddha and make prayer beads from it.
Amethyst is a semiprecious stone and is the traditional birthstone for February.