Amethyst

WHAT IS IT?

  • Amethyst is a purple colored variety of quartz (Si02)

  • The color varies from light pinkish violet to deep purple

  • Natural amethyst contains iron and/or trace element impurities

  • Synthetic amethyst is made by irradiating clear quartz doped with iron

OTHER FACTS

  • The ancient Greeks gave amethyst the name "ἀμέθυστος" which is pronounced "a

  • Méthystos” meaning "not intoxicated". They believed that amethyst provided protection from intoxication.

  • Amethyst is the birthstone for February

  • Synthetic amethyst can be detected by measuring twinning characteristics.

  • Twinning occurs when multiple crystals have common crystal lattice points (i.e. multiple crystals growing together). There are a number of unique crystal plane orientations (i.e. Brazil law, Japan law, Dauphine law) that are associated with specific mining locations.

  • Amethyst is heated to form a yellow citrine-like material called ametrine

  • Amethyst vvas one of the most expensive gemstone until the discovery of large deposits in Brazil in the 18th century

  • Prolonged to bright light causes amethyst to fade.

  • Hardness: 7 (same as quartz), Crystal system: hexagonal

WHERE IS IT FOUND?

  • Amethyst is primarily found in Argentina, Australia, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil,Canada, Germany, India, Italy, Madagascar, Mexico, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, The United States, Uruguay, and Zambia.

  • Brazil and Zambia are the largest producers of amethyst

  • The best varieties come from Brazil, Russia (Siberia), and Sri Lanka

  • The most expensive grade of Amethyst is called "Deep Siberian"

  • In Washington state it is found at Walker Valley (near Big Lake, SE of Mt. Vernon -48 deg 22' 21.4"N, 122 deg 09' 564"W)

WHAT IS IT USED FOR?

  • The ancient Greeks used amethyst as a protection from drunkenness

  • In the middle ages European soldiers carried amethyst into battle in the belief that it healed and promoted courage

  • Currently, amethyst is used as a homeopathic remedy for healing

  • Used for jewelry since ancient time. The Romans made carved Intaglio signet rings from amethyst and other gemstones (most commonly carnelian).

  • The bishop's Episcopal ring was set in amethyst to signify that the Apostles were “not drunk" at Pentecost (an allusion to Acts 2:15)