The Amethyst has been associated with wine for thousands of years. It's fabled origin stems from the myth of the Nymph beloved by Bacchus who was turned into the gem. Bacchus was angered and vowed to kill the next mortal by setting tigers on them. Amethyst was a beautiful maiden on her way to worship at the shrine of Diana the Huntress. Diana turned Amethyst into a pillar of crystal to protect her from the tiger's claws and Bacchus, horrified by what he had done, poured a cup of wine over her to try to turn her back to a mortal. The deep purple soaked into the stone giving her the characteristic purple colour of the Amethyst.
Considering the myth of Amethyst's creation, it is no surprise that the Greeks and Romans believed that it could combat drunkenness and wine goblets were often carved out of Amethyst.
According to Leonardo Da Vinci, Amethyst has the power to dispel evil thoughts, making it a stone that encourages piety and celibacy. Its purple color makes it also a stone of royalty. It is the traditional Bishop's ring - the ring of the Princes of the Church – as it combines royalty with piety. Rosaries are often made with Amethyst.
In other traditions, amethyst was believed to be sacred to Buddha, and Tibetan prayer beads are often made of amethyst for that reason. The stone is said to ward against nightmares and protect from sorcery, and many medieval texts advise sleeping with an amethyst beneath the pillow to protect yourself from the evils of nightmares and sorcery during the night.
Images Courtesy of http://www.flickr.com/