Amethyst is one of the most common and popular gemstones available. It is the purple to pink variety of Quartz and is considered one of he most affordable semi precious gemstones. It has been used to adore jewelery for hundreds of years with the Greeks even believing that it can stop people becoming intoxicated by alcohol. They actual drank wine out of mugs made from Amethyst.
Amethyst generally comes in a purple hue, however there is a pinkish purple variety called Rose De France. The purple colour of caused by the impurity Iron in the crystal structure. When buying Amethyst, it is important to look for a uniform well saturated purple colour, free from and colour zoning. Some of the material coming out of Bolivia has a very intense purple hue that also has flashes of blue. These are considered some of the best Amethyst in the world.
Since it is part of the Quartz family, it is an extremely durable gemstone. It sits at number 7 / 10 on the MOHS scale of hardness which makes it a suitable gemstone to be worn on a daily basis. Follow this link if you would like more information on Gemstone Hardness and Toughness. When cleaning Amethyst as a loose stone or in jewellery, it is advised to usewarm soapy water or an ultrasonic cleaner. Steam cleaners for any gemstone are not recommended because of the thermal shock involved.
Important Amethyst Mining Locations
Amethyst can be found in many different location around the word, but there are few that should be mentioned. Traditionally the huge Amethyst geodes have been found in Brazil with most of the worlds supply of large crystals coming from this location. Brazil also produces some of the largest, cleanest crystals which are cut into gemstones. Apart from Brazil, as I mentioned before Bolivia should be noted for the deep purplish blue stones. Africa is producing some Amethyst, although they are lighter in colour than the Brazilian material.