The typical color of an amethyst boasts the color of royalty, a rich violet-purple. It comes in all shades of purple, lilac and mauve. It is a variety of quartz, the most highly prized variety. The natural abundance and infinite variety of quartz have made it the most widely used of all gem minerals. It is often found in the form of six sided crystals. It occurs in many igneous and metamorphic rocks, particularly granite and gneiss. The physical properties of amethyst vary greatly from one location to another. Experts can tell where an amethyst is from just by looking at it.
Amethysts from Veracruz, Eastern Mexico, tend to be very pale, while specimen from Guerrero, Southwest-Central Mexico, tends to be very brightly colored. The color of an amethyst is very unstable and can diminish with protracted exposure to sunlight. Pale stones may be set in a closed setting with a backing of foil to enhance the color. The purple color of the stone actually comes from iron impurities within. Deep rich purple colors are the most valuable kind. Amethysts are graded, with the best-quality, darkest specimens called “Siberian,” regardless of where they are from. Mid quality stones are “Uruguayan” and lesser quality specimens are “Bahain.” Pale stones are called “Rose of France.” Amethysts have a hardness rating of 7.
Amethysts are found mostly in Western India, Southern Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, the United States, Soviet Union, Australia, South Africa, Southwestern Sri Lanka, South America and Africa.
Sunlight and exposure to heat causes the color of amethysts to deteriorate. Avoid any contact with chemicals such as household cleaners or hairspray. To clean, use a soft toothbrush or cloth and a solution of mild dish soap and warm water to gently scrub the stone. You may also clean it with an at-home ultrasonic unit.