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.
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.)
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.
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.