Amethyst is a well-known mineral and gemstone. It is the purple variety of the mineral quartz, and its most valuable and prized variety. Its name derives from the Greek "amethystos", which means "not drunken", as amethyst in antiquity was thought to ward off drunkenness.
Amethyst is used to produce faceted stones, cabochons, beads, tumbled stones, and many other items for jewelry and ornamental use.
Amethyst is an extremely popular gem because of its attractive purple color. Like the word "turquoise," the word "amethyst" is now the name of a color as well as the name of a gem material.
Small amounts of amethyst are found at many locations throughout the world. The world’s most important amethyst deposits are found in Brazil and Uruguay. Other productive amethyst deposits are located in Canada, France, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and the United States.
While the word "amethyst" makes most people think of a dark purple gem, amethyst actually occurs in many purple colors. The purple color can be so light that it is barely perceptible or so dark that it is nearly opaque. It can be reddish purple, purple, or violetish purple.
Amethyst quartz is a mixture of amethyst and milky quartz (or clear quartz). It is purple on top and white or clear on the bottom. It may also be banded purple and white.
Ametrine is a mixture of amethyst and citrine. It is partially purple and partially yellow or orange, with the color zones often sharply divided.
Canadian amethyst is amethyst with an internal coating of red hematite under the crystal surface, found near Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
Lavender amethyst - pale purple variety of amethyst.
The physical properties of amethyst are almost identical to the physical properties of other color varieties of quartz. The only important difference is the color of the material.
The color of amethyst can often be modified by heating. Much of the yellow to golden quartz sold as “citrine” is actually amethyst that has been modified by heating. This heating can be natural or done intentionally by people.
Natural or intentional heating can also change the color of amethyst to a pale green. The proper name for this material is prasiolite; however, many sellers call it “green amethyst.”
Heating is also used to lighten the color of extremely dark amethyst or eliminate a brown tint that can be seen in many natural materials.
Even though amethyst is not an extremely costly material, synthetic amethyst has been manufactured at least as far back as 1970. Since then an enormous number of items have been produced from synthetic amethyst by faceting, cabbing and carving. Experienced gemologists can identify some natural amethyst with a microscope but only if it exhibits color zoning and contains characteristic mineral inclusions.
Purple is a popular gemstone color and a variety of man-made materials are used to simulate amethyst. Purple glass is the most common and least expensive. Purple synthetic corundum is a more durable and convincing simulant.
Another amethyst simulant is Nanosital, a man-made glass-ceramic that is manufactured in Russia in a variety of gemstone look-alike colors. One of these is a rich purple material that is sold as an amethyst simulant. It can easily be separated from natural amethyst with a polariscope.
Amethyst is a durable gemstone, but some care is needed to maintain its polish and natural color. Accidental scrapes on hard objects can cause damage. Amethyst is also a brittle material that can be chipped or scratched by impact. It is best not to wear amethyst jewelry during an activity or at a location where this might occur.
Long-term storage of amethyst and amethyst jewelry is best done in a jewelry box or other dark location. The color of some amethyst can be subject to fading by prolonged exposure to direct sunlight.
Even though there is no scientific evidence that gemstones have any healing or spiritual power, many people persist in these beliefs. Today, amethyst is one of the most popular healing stones.
Amethyst is a meditative and calming stone which works in the emotional, spiritual, and physical planes to promote calm, balance, and peace. It is also used to eliminate impatience.
Amethysts are the great problem-solvers of the crystal world. Amethyst enhances physical vitality, especially after chemotherapy, radiation, or pharmaceutical treatments. It can aid in the treatment of disorders that affect the lungs, pancreas, and spleen. It can also stimulate fertility and help in the treatment of conditions related to the reproductive system.
Amethyst can work in strengthening the immune system. It can also help you achieve a speedy recovery from a severe illness.
Amethyst will invite harmony in your professional relationships and prosperity in your financial life.