Amethyst is the lilac, to violet, to deep reddish purple color of Quartz. This February birthstone is the most popular purple gem. Amethyst has been prized as a gemstone by royalty and the regal elite at a level rivaling Sapphire and Ruby in value and prestige for over 2,000 years. Thanks to enormous deposits being found in South America in the mid-1800s, it is now among the most affordable of gemstones.
Healing and Meaning
Amethyst is the most popular purple gem used as a crown chakra stone. Amethyst is a highly serene and spiritual gemstone, with a peaceful, cleansing and calming energy. It offers spiritual protection, guards against psychic attack, helps to ease headaches, nightmares and insomnia, and balances emotion. Also used to awaken the third eye, Amethyst increases intuitive sensitivity and spiritual awareness, spiritual visions, mental focus, and enlightenment.
Mediums, psychics, and those who have an innate ability to sense beyond the physical, temporal world regard Amethyst as one of the most spiritually rich crystals, often decorating personal altars and spaces within their home with Amethyst crystals which have spoken to them.
Not surprisingly, synthetic “Amethyst'' does not produce the same results as quality, genuine Amethyst crystals from nature. Each genuine Amethyst crystal is inherently unique, and connects with your unique biofrequency. Synthetic, lab-grown Amethyst is always the same, made the same way each time, without natural differentiations. Although readily available, man-made synthetic Amethyst is best avoided unless used purely for superficially decorative, temporary purposes. Genuine Amethyst crystals and stones are usually quite affordable and available, so there is not much to gain in not having the real thing. Most spiritual experts
recommend connecting with Amethyst often, but with natural stones whenever possible.
If you work in a place where attention to detail and accuracy are key, but you find it often difficult to concentrate, Amethyst can help you to focus and maintain your mental clarity. Place an Amethyst crystal or small group of crystals near the edge of your peripheral vision at your desk, wear an Amethyst crystal close to your skin, or wear a bracelet of Amethyst beads or crystals so that you see it barely at the edge of your peripheral vision while working. If you find yourself in situations where you are unsure of how to proceed, Amethyst helps you to think clearly and not let emotions get too much in the way of sound judgment. It also helps you to realize when emotions are an essential part of a sound judgment; when they’re not to be cast aside as an unimportant part of a decision.
The specifically intellectual clarity Amethyst brings to you is a major reason why it has been and remains a popular stone. Sometimes knowing just what to say in the moment, or what not to say, is just one of the gifts Amethyst provides.
Meditation with Amethyst crystals is highly recommended. A very useful guide for meditation with Amethyst can be found at this helpful website.
The Science of Amethyst
If a clear Quartz crystal begins to grow within 50ºC to 250ºC silicate fluids which also contain trace amounts of iron (somewhere between 10 and 100 parts per million), these iron atoms can replace spots that Silicon had in the pure silicon dioxide (SiO2) matrix crystal lattice structure. When background gamma radiation from the host rock knocks some of the electrons off of these iron atoms (ionization), these ions of iron (Fe2+, Fe3+) within the clear crystal will change the color to a beautiful shade of purple. The more iron that is in the crystal solution, the darker the color the crystal can be.
Amethyst coloration depth is not consistent from one part of the crystal to another. These color variations, or zones, are due to varying amounts of the iron ions being incorporated into the crystal at different stages of its growth. In fact, zoning is present to some degree in all natural
Amethyst, if even on the microscopic level. Synthetic Amethyst will not have this zoning quality. Unfortunately, much of the synthetic Amethyst on the market, whether it is just purple glass, lab-grown purple Corundum, or a glass-ceramic called Nanosital made in Russia, is sold as natural without being disclosed. Gemologists can easily tell the difference between natural Amethyst and synthetic imitations using commonly available instruments.
Most of the world’s supply of natural, gem-quality Amethyst comes from South America. Brazil is by far the largest producer, and the colors of the Amethyst from the basalt flows of Minas Gerais tend toward the purple-violet shade, whereas the crystals from Uruguay are a bit more reddish, often displaying a “fire”, or flash, when faceted by an expert.
Ametrine, a crystal that has both the purple Amethyst and the golden-yellow Citrine colors, is quite popular. Nearly all Ametrine is created by heating one end of an Amethyst crystal until the color fades. Naturally occurring Ametrine of any quantity comes from only one mine - the Anahi Mine in eastern Bolivia.
Geodes - hollow rocks with crystals inside - are a popular specimen for any collector to display. Amethyst geodes are found nearly 200 feet below the surface in the northern areas of Chihuahua, Mexico. Amethyst crystal specimens from Veracruz, Mexico have a unique, beautiful color scheme that begins nearly transparent at the base of the columnar crystal, tapering to a dark purple tip. Amethyst crystals from Guerrero, Mexico do the opposite color
pattern. Striking reddish-purple Amethyst comes from the Four Peaks Mine in Arizona, USA. The tribal people of the Yavapai-Apache Nation, who lived in this area northwest of what is now Phoenix, Arizona, made arrowheads of Amethyst from this deposit.
Amethyst, like other Quartz gems, has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, and does not have cleavage planes. This tough quality is favorable in a gemstone that is meant to be worn. When it is fractured, the conchoidal shape of the break looks just like that of glass, with a vitreous (shiny) luster. You can distinguish true Amethyst from a purple colored Chalcedony of the same hardness because the conchoidal fracture, even if microscopic, will be dull on the Chalcedony. Agate, a type of cryptocrystalline Quartz, is an example of a mineral that can display a wide variety of colors that can be confused with Amethyst. The so-called “Grape Agate” is not Agate at all, rather a type of Amethyst that has crystallized in the botryoidal form.
Like most translucent, colored silicate minerals, Amethyst will eventually fade if left in the sunshine. It is best to wear these colored stones in the evening or indoors when possible for best color longevity. X-ray exposure will usually bring back the purple color.