Amethyst Stones: the Color Purple

Amethysts are purple to violet colored minerals of the quartz family. Like other quartz stones, the amethyst has a Mohs hardness scale category of 7, and can be cut and polished into stones for jewelry. This beautiful mineral is commonly made into a variety of jewelry items, especially rings and broaches.

The use of Amethyst stones in jewelry dates back to the ancient Egyptians, and is mentioned also in Greek and Roman writings. The ancient Greeks considered amethyst stones to be able to prevent drunkenness, and thus is derived the stone's name, which means "not drunken" in Greek. The stone was also prized during Medieval times as a protection for soldiers in battle. Although once considered as a precious stone, it has lost much of its value due to a discovery of large amethyst deposits in countries such as Brazil and Russia.

The amethyst derives its unique color due to the presence of manganese and iron. In its natural form, it is often found in quartz crystal formations known as geodes or 'amethyst grottos'. Rock hounds and other mineral collectors prize amethyst geodes and for this reason they are often found in "rock shops". Like other minerals of the quartz family amethysts are largely composed of silica or silicon dioxide.

Besides Russia and Brazil, amethyst minerals are found in South Korea, Uruguay, India, and in several locations in the USA and Canada. It is often used as the birthstone for the month of February.

Fashion and fine jewelry made with amethyst stones can be found in fine jewelry stores, fashion accessory shops and departments, as well as through jewelry web sites.