The Cursed Amethyst's Mysterious History Explained

As the story goes, the Cursed Amethyst was taken from the Temple of Indra, a Hindu god of war (via the Robb Report). This gem was originally thought to be a sapphire and is also known as the Delhi Purple Sapphire. This looted item found its way to Colonel W. Ferris, who brought the stone to England. The colonel experienced a reversal of fortune once he had the gem and his health failed (via Atlas Obscura). His son was also touched by the curse and a friend he gave the stone to ended up committing suicide.

The Cursed Amethyst fell into the hands of Edward Heron-Allen in 1890. Heron-Allen is often described as a polymath, which basically means he had a broad range of knowledge and interests. According to the Heron-Allen Society, he was a writer, a translator of Persian texts, a palmistry expert, and a violin devotee. And it's from Heron-Allen that the Cursed Amethyst may have gained its notoriety. He reportedly had some personal troubles once he possessed the amethyst, and he unknowingly gave the gem to a friend who was a singer. She lost her voice and never sang again. Desperate to be rid of the stone, Heron-Allen tried to throw it away in the Regent's Canal near London. But the stone was later discovered and returned to him. He hoped to end the long string of suffering associated with the gem by hiding it inside seven boxes and locking it up in a bank vault.

Cursed Amethyst: fact or fiction?

Heron-Allen had been driven to stash away the gem in the bank vault to protect his newborn daughter (via the Natural History Museum). He left instructions that the gem was to remain there for 30 years after his death. But his daughter didn't exactly follow his orders. Heron-Allen died in 1943, according to the Heron-Allen Society. His daughter gave the Cursed Amethyst to the Natural History Museum in London the following January. Found alongside the gem inside the box was a note from Heron-Allen that detailed the amethyst's dark history (via the Robb Report). He described it as "trebly accursed and is stained with blood, and the dishonour of everyone who has ever owned it." This all seems like scary stuff, but not everyone is willing to take Heron-Allen's word for it.

Amy Freeborn, a staff member at the museum, wrote on its website that the stories surrounding the stone may be more fiction than fact. Remember that Heron-Allen was a writer, and he published a short story titled "The Purple Sapphire" under the pen name of Christopher Blayre in 1921. And Heron-Allen may have beefed up the legend associated with the gem to bolster his own creative work.

Some who have handled the Cursed Amethyst feel otherwise. Curator Richard Savin has taken the stone to several gatherings of the Heron-Allen Society and found himself getting stuck in a horrific storm or becoming terribly ill each time, as he explained in a Museum Secrets video (via Atlas Obscura).