The Full Wiki

Amethyst: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek a- ("not") and methustos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness; the ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication.


Amethyst is the violet variety of quartz; its chemical formula is SiO2.

In the 20th century, the color of amethyst was attributed to the presence of manganese. However, since it is capable of being greatly altered and even discharged by heat, the color was believed by some authorities to be from an organic source. Ferric thiocyanate was suggested, and sulfur was said to have been detected in the mineral.

More recent work has shown that amethyst's coloration is due to ferric iron impurities. Further study has shown a complex interplay of iron and aluminium is responsible for the color.

On exposure to heat, amethyst generally becomes yellow, and much of the citrine, cairngorm, or yellow quartz of jewelry is said to be merely "burnt amethyst". Veins of amethystine quartz are apt to lose their color on the exposed outcrop .

Synthetic amethyst is made to imitate the best quality amethyst. Its chemical and physical properties are so similar to that of natural amethyst that it can not be differentiated with absolute certainty without advanced gemological testing (which is often cost-prohibitive). There is one test based on "Brazil law twinning" (a form of quartz twinning where right and left hand quartz structures are combined in a single crystal) which can be used to identify synthetic amethyst rather easily. In theory however it is possible to create this material synthetically as well, but this type is not available in large quantities in the market.


Amethyst is composed of an irregular superposition of alternate lamellae of right-handed and left-handed quartz. It has been shown that this structure may be due to mechanical stresses.

Because it has a hardness of seven on the Mohs scale, amethyst is suitable for use in jewelry.

Hue and tone

Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue. The ideal grade is called "Deep Siberian" and has a primary purple hue of around 75–80 percent, 15–20 percent blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues.

File:Amethyst.JPG| Cut AmethystFile:Amethyst Quartz.jpg|The inside of an Amethyst Geode


Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptiansmarker and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems. The Greeks believed amethyst gems could prevent intoxication, while medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle. Beads of amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon graves in Englandmarker.

A huge geode, or "amethyst-grotto", from near Santa Cruz in southern Brazilmarker was exhibited at the Düsseldorf, Germanymarker Exhibition of 1902.

Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.


The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken", from Greek a-, not + methustos, intoxicated. Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. In Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of intoxication,and wine, was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, which the goddess Artemis granted and transformed her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos's desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.

Variations of the story include that Dionysus had been insulted by a mortal and swore to slay the next mortal who crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wrath. The mortal turned out to be a beautiful young woman, Amethystos, who was on her way to pay tribute to Artemis(the hunter goddess). Her life is spared by Artemis, who transformed the maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears then stained the quartz purple. Another variation involves the goddess Rhea presenting Dionysus with the amethyst stone to preserve the wine-drinker's sanity.

Geographic distribution

Amethyst is produced in abundance from the state of Minas Geraismarker in Brazilmarker where it occurs in large geodes within volcanic rocks. It is also found and mined in South Koreamarker. The largest opencast amethyst vein in the world is in Maissau, Lower Austria. Many of the hollow agates of Brazil and Uruguaymarker contain a crop of amethyst crystals in the interior. Much fine amethyst comes from Russiamarker, especially from near Mursinka in the Ekaterinburgmarker district, where it occurs in drusy cavities in granitic rocks. Many localities in Indiamarker yield amethyst. One of the largest global amethyst producers is Zambia with an annual production of about 1,000 t.
Amethyst cluster
Amethyst occurs at many localities in the United Statesmarker. Among these may be mentioned: the Mazatzal Mountain region in Gilamarker and Maricopa Countiesmarker, Arizonamarker; Amethyst Mountain, Texasmarker; Yellowstone National Parkmarker; Delaware County, Pennsylvaniamarker; Haywood County, North Carolinamarker; Deer Hill and Stow, Mainemarker and in the Lake Superiormarker region. Amethyst is relatively common in Ontariomarker, and in various locations throughout Nova Scotiamarker, but uncommon elsewhere in Canada.


Traditionally included in the cardinal, or most valuable, gemstones (along with diamond, sapphire, ruby, and emerald), amethyst has lost much of its value due to the discovery of extensive deposits in locations such as Brazilmarker. The highest grade amethyst (called "Deep Russian") is exceptionally rare and therefore its value is dependent on the demand of collectors when one is found. It is however still orders of magnitude lower than the highest grade sapphires or rubies (Padparadscha sapphire or "pigeon's blood" ruby).

See also


  1. Klein, Cornelis and Hurlbut, Cornelius S., 1985 Manual of Mineralogy (after JD Dana) 20th edition, p. 441, John Wiley & Sons, New York
  2. Cohen, Alvin J., 1985, Amethyst color in quartz, the result of radiation protection involving iron', American Mineralogist, V. 70, pp 1180-1185
  3. Secrets of the Gem Trade; The Connoisseur's Guide to Precious Gemstones Richard W Wise, Brunswick House Press, Lenox, Massachutes., 2003
  4. The American Heritage Dictionary
  5. source
  6. (Nonnus, Dionysiaca, XII.380)


External links


Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address