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Amethyst Gemstone Information

Amethyst is a variety of crystalline quartz ranging in colour from light purple (mauve) to a stunning deep purple with bright blue, violet, magenta or red flashes. The name comes from the Greek word 'Amethystos' meaning 'a remedy for drunkenness'. The Greeks and Romans sculpted drinking vessels out of amethyst quartz and wore amethyst amulets and rings, in their belief that it would prevent alcoholic intoxication.

Amethyst has long been associated with Christianity; bishops of the Catholic Church wore rings set with amethyst and it featured strongly in church ornaments.

Amethyst is a very popular and reasonably priced, although very cheap stones are likely to be synthetic amethyst (manufactured) or imitations (glass or other dyed material).

There are many source locations for amethyst, they include: Africa (Zambia and Namibia), Brazil, Burma, Canada, Europe (Germany and Italy), India, Madagascar, Mexico, Russia, Sri Lanka Uruguay and USA (Arizona, Colorado, North Carolina). High quality crystals can be found in many parts of the world: Siberia, Brazil and Uruguay supply some of the best quality amethyst.

Physical Properties

Stone type:
Amethyst is a variety of crystalline quartz
Crystal System:
Trigonal (hexagonal) Crystals occur as hexagonal prisms
Chemical Composition:
Silicon dioxide - SiO2
Colour:
Light to dark purple
Lustre:
Vitreous
Pleochroism:
Weak variation in violet colour, seen as violet-grey and violet-red
Dispersion:
Low
Hardness:
7 on the Mohs' scale of hardness
Toughness:
Good
Cleavage:
None
Density in gm/cc:
2.65
Double refraction:
Yes
Refractive index:
1.544 to 1.553

Common Treatments

Some amethysts are produced by irradiating clear and smokey quartz. Heat treatment is also used to lighten dark amethyst.

Synthetic amethyst is manufactured (Lab-created), imitations may be made of glass or a dyed material.


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