When a mineral exhibits a color as luscious and lovely as a deep purple Amethyst crystal, it is only natural to be curious about how such a beauty came to be! The formation of crystals and their composition can tell us a lot about their unique properties to heal. The geology of Amethyst is very similar to that of Quartz crystal, being a member of the Quartz family.
HOW DOES AMETHYST GET ITS COLOR?
Deposits of this riveting purple crystal are mainly found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. Amethyst crystals are often found in the cavities of basalt flows. These cavities can often contain hundreds, if not tons of pounds of sparkly crystals! Some lava tubes can be miles long while other tiny Geodes may fit in the palm of your hand. Amethyst crystals have a 6-sided (hexagonal) crystal habit.
Amethyst crystals receive their radiant purple color from what are known as “color sources,” which are within the Quartz. These color sources usually contain iron impurities, or other transition metals, and irradiation from natural sources.
These impurities are aligned, rather than scattered, and appear rich purple when light shines through. This structural variety lends itself to a brilliant array of different colors, ranging from pale lavender, to reddish, to deep purple and sometimes a gorgeous black hue. Words such as orchid, lavender, indigo, violet, also come to mind.
Amethyst is beautiful to look at in the sunlight, but if left in the sun, some kinds of Amethyst will fade over time and slowly lose the color!
Color Variation and Origin
WHERE IS AMETHYST MINED?
Amethyst crystal is primarily mined in Brazil, but this glistening violet beauty can be found all over the world. There are important Amethyst deposits in Uruguay (Artigas), Bolivia, Argentina, Korea, Russia, USA (Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, Maine), Canada (Ontario), India, Greece, Italy, the Middle East, Southern Africa, and Mexico.
Uruguay is known to have Amethyst crystals of a deep purple with a bluish hue, as are the mines in Arizona, USA. The Four Peaks Mine is the only one left commercially running in the USA, though demand is strong. Literal tons of Amethyst crystals are sold at the Tucson Gem and Mineral Show in AZ, USA!
The fact that the color variation depends on the surrounding minerals and composition of land means that Amethyst crystals found in different parts of the world can have significantly different properties. The color will affect the properties of the Amethyst! This means that different countries can produce different kinds of Amethyst with different potential, and this exciting diversity can be as exclusive as from within a single mine.
Some kinds of rare Amethyst crystals are sought more than others, like the transcendent Siberian Amethyst, which is fraught with beautiful red and blue hints. These specific mines where rare manifestations can be found often sell crystals at a higher price that only gets higher once the deposit has been totally mined. This is the case for Siberian Amethyst crystal which is the highest grade available!
AKA: Name Variations and Lookalikes
WHAT OTHER NAMES DOES AMETHYST GO BY?
The word itself, “Amethyst” comes from the Greek word “Amethystos” meaning “non intoxicated.” Known as “The Queen of Crystals,” “Jamunia,” and the “Gem of Fire,” or “Hemag” to the Ancient Egyptians. “Alamah” to the Hebrew; This comes from the Hebrew word “halam” or “to dream.” This may be a reference to the mystical crystal’s ability to induce healing dreams and cure insomnia!
Amethyst is by far one of the most well-known crystals on the planet. Friendly, like your next door neighbor, but ethereal, and truly sublime. The gem’s scientific name is Silicon Dioxide, or Quartz with a purple or reddish color center.
There are purple amethystine crystals that have been available for sale since 2016, called “Grape Agates.” This is a technical misnomer! These samples are not at all agates, and more correctly named “Botryoidal Amethysts” and are bunches of little spherical crystals shaped like little Dionysian grape clusters. Super cute and kind of perfect for the association with intoxication!
Purple Chalcedony is also often mistakenly called “Amethyst Chalcedony,” and is a lookalike.
WHAT ELSE LOOKS LIKE AMETHYST?
The gems named “Bengal Amethyst” and “Oriental Amethyst” are Amethyst lookalikes. They are not actually Amethyst crystal at all, but a rarer variety of purple Sapphire. These are very expensive gems that are harder to find. Purple Spinel is another rare gem that also could mimic Amethyst crystal, but it is more expensive and very uncommon to find.
Iolite may also be mistaken for Amethyst, but is known to exhibit a bluer tone. Fluorite displays the same purple hue in some cases, but is a lot softer on the Mohs hardness scale, and is pretty obviously not Amethyst by texture if you are familiar with it.
We hope this adds to your love and knowledge of the mystical and alluring Amethyst crystal! For more articles on Amethyst Crystal:
Related Crystals: Angel Aura, Titanium Aura, Tibetan Quartz, Arkansas Quartz, Lemurian Seed Quartz, Rutilated Quartz, Tourmilated Quartz, Spirit Quartz, Hematoid Quartz, Elestial Quartz, Phantom Quartz, Lithium Quartz, Milky Quartz, Smoky Quartz, Rose Quartz, Amethyst, Citrine, Amethetrine, Prasiolite, Tiger’s Eye, Chalcedony, Aventurine, Jasper, Carnelian, Agate, Onyx, Moss Agate, Blue Lace Agate