Confession: Prior to moving to Los Angeles a couple of months ago, I knew nothing about crystals other than what I had gleaned from a few of my favorite Instagram accounts. I knew that they were pretty, I knew that they were steeped in majestic, prophetical history, and I knew that I wanted to sprinkle three (or 20) around my new apartment. What I didn't know was almost everything in between. For instance, naïve as it may sound (can I use that I'm from Minnesota as a disclaimer here?), I didn't realize that different stones (and different stones within said family of stones) held very different purposes.
While it's fairly certain you won't find any true, scientifically backed evidence about the efficacy of crystal healing (trust me, I checked), you will find a litany of blogs, websites, stores, and holistic health communities that live and breathe by the practice. So naturally, my interest was piqued.
I love to be skeptical of my own skepticism, and I couldn't ignore my growing curiosity—especially when it came to the alleged "healing" properties of amethysts. Could a lilac-hued crystal placed lovingly beneath my pillow each night finally shake my 2 a.m. sweats? What about my perpetually twitchy left eye after a long day in front of my laptop? According to board-certified holistic health practitioner Fern Olivia (she's also the founder of Thyroid Yoga and Ajai Alchemy, plus an all-around wellness goddess), it very well could.
Since, as previously mentioned, I'm no expert when it comes to the culture of crystals and their uses, benefits, and history, I tapped Olivia and Gorjana Griffin, the owner and designer behind Gorjana (a gorgeous jewelry line that features many of the power gemstones) for some expert intel on the subject. From immunity to nightmares, keep reading to learn more about amethyst's most surprising healing properties.
Cleansing & Detoxification
Amethysts are rich in not only potential healing properties but also in history, with lineage dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans, Egyptian royalty, Chinese philosophy, and even the early civilizations of Mexico and South America. Olivia explains that in Greek, the word amethystos translates to "not intoxicated." To relieve telltale signs and symptoms of drinking, the ancient Greeks would grind amethyst into a fine powder to be added to their wine.
In today's world, Olivia tells me that the gemstone can have a dual cleansing effect—both in the physical sense and psychologically. "It promotes internal balance, harmony, and stabilization and is also capable of raising one’s spirits, promoting one's self-assurance and confidence," she says, adding, "They brighten the outlook on life and enhance the sense of humor." Other cleansing virtues include beauty, calm, fulfillment, humility, a loving demeanor, perfection, piety, sincerity, spiritual balance, tranquility, and wisdom."
Love & Learning
A modern-day love potion of sorts, amethyst's wide-reaching healing properties also extend to that of an individual's mental focus, clarity, and memory, Oliva says. Not surprisingly, this can correlate with one's love life. "The stone also helps sharpen the conscious mind and enhances the mental powers," she says. "It is used to improve memory and can keep thoughts in line with life goals. It's also a stone of pure, true, emotional love which is often exchanged between two lovers to strengthen their commitment."
Sleep & Mental Disorders
In terms of more deep-seated treatments (and again, as a disclaimer, there is no medically backed proof of this), amethyst is thought to influence the endocrine system by targeting the pituitary and pineal glands where altered states of consciousness and psychic skills are activated. Olivia explains the stone is also believed to impact the cerebral cortex of the brain providing relief from such conditions as headaches, mental illness, anxiety, concussions, and depression.
As far as sleeplessness, Olivia says amethysts are known to promote a natural sense of healing, a belief actually dating back to over 2000 years ago. The crystal is also "steeped in ancient magic" thought to banish insomnia and bad dreams if placed beneath the pillow or worn to bed. In fact, Griffin tells me she keeps a piece of amethyst on her bedside table to encourage a "calming energy."
"It is a spiritual stone of peace with no negative side effects or associations with violence, anger or passion," she says. "It calms fears, raises hopes, lifts the spirits, and promotes spiritual awareness. It is known to help build courage and is a powerful amulet for travelers."
meditation & protection
Olivia is an intuitive energy healer and expert in holistic health, so I was curious to know how she uses amethysts in her day-to-day life and incorporates amethyst's healing properties into sessions with her clients.
"I use amethyst crystals in my daily meditation and self-reiki practice as they provide spiritual protection, inner strength, and clarity of mind. Meditating with them can help us to become more in tune with our feelings and aid in self-realization. They work by stimulating the crown chakra and calming your thoughts and clearing your body’s energy field of all negative energies and influences." Essentially, she tells me, they act similar to an "energetic shield," which then creates an orb of "spiritual light" around one's body.
"I also use them on my clients in reiki and aromatherapy healing sessions—especially for clients with anxiety and those who feel disconnected from their intuition and higher self," she says.
As we've explained before, crystals (and our individual spirits) all hold their own vibrations, and according to the idea of crystal healing, amethyst can pacify, soothe, and calm incongruously negative vibrations we may be dealing with. Olivia shared that they're even thought to improve the immune system—aka you might be able to prevent that inevitable fall cold of yours.
Griffin agrees, telling us amethysts have the power to "soothe irritability, relieve stress, balance mood swings, and dispel anger. Associated with the seventh chakra (known as the crown chakra) amethyst offers clear, purifying, and healing energies."
Some helpful tips…
Not all that surprising (and as with most things in life), the quality of your amethyst is important. The crystals have a variety of origins from all around the world, and the best way to differentiate a quality stone from one that might be less effective or valuable is the intensity of that signature purple color. Which, by the way, is thanks to the stone's content of iron impurities.
"Amethyst can be found in igneous and metamorphic rock that takes on a crystalline shape as gas cavities form. It gets its color from iron deposits and can range from light to deep purple. Every continent in the world produces its own variety of amethyst, making it one of the most popular stones, and historically, it was known as the 'gem of fire,' once regarded as valuable as a diamond," Griffin explains, adding that today, it's considered a semi-precious stone, possessing many positive properties in addition to its obvious beauty.
Olivia tells us that despite their origin, the purest amethysts are called "Siberian Amethysts" and will boast the darkest, most saturated color. Mid-quality stones are "Uruguayan," and lesser-quality specimens are "Bahain." Pale stones are called "Rose of France."
Still intrigued? You can learn even more about crystals and their healing properties in Crystal Muse: Everyday Rituals to Tune Into the Real You by Energy Muse founders Heather Askinosie and Timmi Jandro.