The name Amatista is Spanish for amethyst, fitting in with the naming scheme in Diamond Heights where many streets have the English names of gemstones, and stairways have the Spanish names. The stairs were built in the 1960s, when Diamond Heights was developed.
On the east side of the stairs is Fairmount Plaza, a small park atop the steep hill at the end of Everson Street. The park was improved in recent years with a trail and steps through it from Everson Street to the middle of the stairs.
There is now a wall along the upper half of the stairs, after the adjacent home on Everson was rebuilt and expanded to fill out its entire lot. Previously, the rear of the lot behind the old house that had been there was vacant next to the stairs.