Amethyst is purple quartz. It is a beautiful blend of violet and red that can be found in every corner of the world. The name comes from the Ancient Greek, derived from the word methustos, which means “intoxicated.” Ancient wearers believed the gemstone could protect them from drunkenness.
Amethyst, as previously mentioned, is composed of quartz, which is the second most abundant material found in Earth’s crust. Amethyst gets its color from irradiation, iron impurities, and the presence of trace elements. Its hardness—a 7 on the Mohs scale—is the same as other quartz, which makes it a durable and lasting option for jewelry.
While amethyst is most commonly recognized to be a purple color, the gemstone can range from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple that can read more blue or red, depending on the light. Sometimes the same stone can have layers or color variants, so the way the gemstone is cut is important to the way the color shows in a finished piece.
Amethyst often occurs in geodes or in the cavities of granitic rocks. It can be found all over the world, including the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Zambia.
The amethyst is not only the February birthstone, it is also used to celebrate the sixth and 17th years of marriage.