Going amethyst mining in Finland, another unexpected afternoon

One of the things I enjoy about doing some of the sponsored trips I get to do these days is that there invariably are a few things on the schedule that they come up with that I’d never have done myself, if left to my own devices. I definitely fall into the “whatever you want to do” camp of trip planning, which sometimes means that when I get to a place I tend not to do very much, unless prodded on by people I meet, or in this case by the great tourism boards I was working with.

Because I am up for just about anything though, I have afternoons like I did at the Lampivaara Amethyst Mine during my trip to Finland. Unexpected.

from the amethyst mine in finland

view from the mountain top, mine entrance to the right

This is Europe’s only active amethyst mine, but now that I think about it, I’m not sure I could have successfully listed any country in the world that mined amethyst. Then again, that does lead to a bit of an odd confession:

Amethyst is my birth stone.

How I know that amethyst is my birth stone is a complete mystery to me. Did my mother tell me that decades ago and somehow it got lodged in my brain? Did some woman I was dating mention her birth stone as a possible gift idea after telling me what mine was and it has taken up valuable neuron space ever since?

I have no idea, but I am 100% sure that it is my birth stone — even more sure than I am at I am a Sagittarius.

(See, I just had to look that up to make sure. Yep, December 15th. I am the archer.)

ski lodge movie crop 640

even with these skies, everything was so beautiful

finland mining equipment 640-1

“Amethyst Pendolino,” my ride up to the coffee hut, then the mine

The actual part of the tour where you went into the amethyst mine and dug out your own wasn’t all that exciting — on your hands and knees with a little pick banging away on the ground, but there were a good number of amethysts to be had. I ended up with five of them (don’t tell my nieces… their Christmas presents are pretty set this year, once have someone make a couple of these into necklaces or whatever).

It is certain to be a good time for any families traveling with kids. “Look Mom, I dug up a pretty stone!”

Then again, I have recurring nightmares of traveling with kids, so I should move on from that thought.

The tour guide for the entire thing was great. After getting taken up to the mine in that pendolino thing (sorta cool in and of itself), everyone went into a warm hut to hear about the mine’s history and the powers of amethyst, according to the local legends of the Sami people. It has the power to heal kidney aliments, can aid in the recollection of dreams, and protect against psychic attacks among various other amazing attributes.

It was a fun little talk, prior to heading down to dig for our stones.

But my favorite amethyst story came not from the tour guide, but from the magic of the interwebs, when I did a quick search:

The Romans used amethyst to protect against intoxication and the name comes from the Ancient Greek “amethystus,” which means, “not intoxicated.”

My birthstone. I’ve never been more proud.

 

digging amethyst in finland

the actual digging part is a little less photogenic than the up-top part

_________________________________________

I was a guest of the Finnish Tourism Board as part of a Navigate Media Group project. Thanks to  Visit Finland and  Phyä-Luosto Tourist Board from sponsoring my eye opening journey through Finland in the winter. Though this trip was sponsored, obviously all the views (and photos and video) expressed herein are my own.

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I’m an attorney that took off on my birthday in December of 2008 to circumnavigate the globe without ever getting on an airplane. After 16 months, 6 continents and 44 countries, I made it all the way back home. Right now, I am back on the road writing about it all. Read more by Michael Hodson and connect on Google Plus.

17 Responses to “Going amethyst mining in Finland, another unexpected afternoon” Subscribe

  1. Steph | A Nerd At Large April 3, 2013 at 10:59 am #

    That looks like a blast! I’m definitely filling this away for inspiration. I already like amethyst, but what really sold me on the experience is the fact that they have purple heavy machinery!
    Steph | A Nerd At Large recently posted..Foto Friday: The Ridiculous Easter Island Bunny

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:40 am #

      Yea, those machines do look cool. Quite photogenic.

  2. Dalene April 3, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

    Seeing as your REAL birthstone is turquoise (look it up), and MINE is really Amethyst…then I guess I know what you’re giving to me next Christmas? :)
    Dalene recently posted..On the Other Side

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:40 am #

      Lord. Maybe it was a previous girlfriend’s birthstone and not mine. LOL.

  3. Sofie April 4, 2013 at 6:47 am #

    Although it wasn’t that photogenic, it does seem pretty cool to be able to dig up your birth stone. Or any shiny stone for that matter:)
    I had no idea there existed such a thing as a birth stone.
    Will quickly look up what mine is. Hold on!
    *a few seconds later – thank you Google*
    I’m Amethyst as well! February, yupyup!

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:41 am #

      It was an oddly fun experience for sure.

  4. Arianwen April 7, 2013 at 9:11 am #

    My birthstone is called Tiger Eye so I like to think I’m Rocky Balboa…
    Arianwen recently posted..Christ’s redeeming features

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      I think I have seen that stone before. I think it is orange.

  5. Cailin April 7, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    Where is a photo of the amethyst? I want to see it now! haha
    Cailin recently posted..Zamora Estate Hotel Review – Where she stayed

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:42 am #

      I need to get my stones all polished up, so they look ok. :)

  6. Adam Sommer April 9, 2013 at 11:11 am #

    That ride looks amazing!

    And I agree about sponsored trips…it does give the opportunity to do things I’d never do myself (or think to do)
    Adam Sommer recently posted..Crying Babies on Airplanes

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      The ride was short, but yea… pretty cool in that thing. Sorta wanted it to just drive around all over the mountain. LOL.

  7. Ayngelina April 11, 2013 at 1:06 pm #

    Very cool, we also have amethyst in Nova Scotia, if you go spelunking (which I would never do ) you can see them in the caves.
    Ayngelina recently posted..Fire and Ice

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:43 am #

      Well, I just might do that now!

  8. Angela Goldstein April 27, 2013 at 4:19 pm #

    Brazil mines a LOT of Amethysts! it is a tradition here that every University Major is assigned a stone. Emerald for Medicine, Rubi for Law and Amethyst for Literary studies. So, it is also my stone!

    • Michael Hodson April 29, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      I am actually not surprised that Brazil has those mines also, since they have so many natural resources. I might have to do that next time I am down there!

  9. Matthew Karsten May 1, 2013 at 1:19 am #

    Yes, a bit disappointed you didn’t post photos of the stones! How big are they? I’m curious what they look like right out of the ground too…
    Matthew Karsten recently posted..Similan Sea Monster [PHOTO]

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