What is Amethyst?
- Amethyst is a semiprecious gemstone and is composed of silicon dioxide, it is a member of the quartz family.
- The colour of Amethyst can vary from pale violet to deep purple. The depth of colour is relative to the amount of iron and other trace elements in the quartz during formation and how much irradiation it has undergone.
- Amethyst can contain clear or white quartz, and is known as Chevron Amethyst or yellow quartz (Natural Citrine), and this is known as Ametrine.
- When heated Amethyst changes colour and becomes a golden colour known as Common Citrine or Heat Treated Citrine.
How is Amethyst formed?
- Amethyst has a trigonal crystal system and a hexagonal structure. Amethyst has a hardness of Mohs 7.
- Amethyst is a pervasive rock forming mineral found within hollow cavities in volcanic rocks and in mineral veins.
- Amethyst comes in many forms, from small points and sceptres to larger rocks which form in veins and beautiful sparkly druzy found in geodes.
- The purple colouring of Amethyst is due to the amount of iron and trace minerals trapped within the quartz during formation. The crystal is then irradiate by the gamma rays emitted by the surrounding host rock and this turns the iron in the crystal a purple colour.
Where is Amethyst found around the planet?
- Some of the finest Amethyst comes from Brazil and Uruguay where it is found in cavities in volcanic rocks and high quality gemstones are to be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka and the far East.
- The Ural Mountains of Russia produces a source of Amethyst that has a reddish hue to it.
- Amethyst is found in North America and Canada produces an Amethyst that has a more violet colouring.
- Other sources of Amethyst are Austria, Germany, Namibia, Western Australia and Zambia.
What is the history and folklore of Amethyst?
- The name Amethyst comes from the Greek word amethustos which means 'not drunken'. The Greeks would make goblets from Amethyst believing they would reduce the effects of the wine.
- Mythology says that the goddess Diana turned Amethysta into a gem to save her from an angry Bacchus who was about to set his tigers on her! Stating that all who were in her (Amethysta's) presence would show restraint.
- Amethyst has been a gemstone since ancient times and was a popular choice for intaglio carvings.
- Amethyst was the ninth stone in the breast plate of the high priest of Israel and is the gemstone of Gad, one of the twelve tribes of Israel.
- In Tibet Amethyst is considered to be sacred to the Buddha.
- Amethyst is the official gemstone of South Carolina, USA.
- Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February.
How do I care for Amethyst?
- Amethyst is a hard stone and can be wiped over with a soft damp cloth.
- Amethyst druzy can be gently cleaned in the crevices with a very soft toothbrush.
- Amethyst can fade when left in direct sunlight.