Encyclopedia » Amethyst



A small amethyst cluster from Brazil.

Scientific info

Group: Quartz, oxide
Formula: Silicon dioxide (SiO2 + Al, Fe, Ca, Mg, Li, Na)
Growth: Trigonal (primary)
Appearance: Violet, purple, or grayish-purple; well-defined or visible crystals
Hardness: 7 (Moh’s Scale)
Mine Locations: Minas Gerais in Brazil, Australia, Cambodia, Canada, Czech Republic, India, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Russia, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay
Uses: Jewellery, ornamental

Amethyst (derived from the Greek word ‘amethustos’) is form of quartz purple in colour due to traces of ferric iron.

Quartz is the second-most abundant mineral source in the world.

Amethyst forms large, visible crystals with a glossy lustre. It is commonly found in the cooled gas bubbles of volcanic rock where there are iron-containing silicic acid solutions. Large amethyst druses and geodes are abundantly found around the world.

When heated at 500°C, amethyst’s colour changes from purple to yellow, making it look like citrine. This is often practiced in the gemstone industry to improve the value of amethyst, as citrine is rarer or more desirable.

Amethyst that contains traces of citrine is referred to as “ametrine”.

Amethyst with a pinkish tinge of colour is known as “pink amethyst”.

Amethyst from Uruguay naturally form crystals in deep violet colour.

Amethyst was a highly prized in antiquity, and was considered an object of wealth.

The Ancient Greeks and Romans believed that amethyst helps to prevent the intoxication effects of alcohol, and wore or carried the crystal with them. The word “amethyst” itself is a Greek word meaning “non-inebriated” (amethustos).

Amethyst is mentioned in the writings of the Middle Ages. Hildegard Von Bingen (1098 – 1179), a German Chrtistian mystic and polymath, wrote that amethyst was able to heal skin diseases and swelling. The German Catholic scholar Konrad von Megenberg (1309–1374) also wrote that the crystal “makes a person better, disperses bad thoughts, brings good commonsense and makes one mild and gentle” (Gienger, 214).

In Arabic countries, amethyst was put under the pillow to prevent the sleeper from nightmares.

Amethyst was named as a precious gemstone up until the 1900s, when its value fell due to the discovery of large deposits in Brazil.

Healing Properties
Amethyst is believed to have many health benefits, such as easing pain and tension in headaches, bruises, and swelling. It is also believed to help with lung and respiratory diseases, skin blemishes such as verrucas, regulating the flora of the large intestine, and the bodily absorption of water.

Mentally, the stone may encourage awareness in everyday experiences. Unpleasant events could be viewed consciously, and concentration sharpened. This effect may lead to the overcoming of emotional blockages and addictive habits.

Amethyst may also help one come to terms with loss. It is believed that by putting the stone under the pillow at night, one will experience many strong dreams that addresses those thoughts. Ultimately, one would have dreamt enough to clarify their inner mind of grief or sadness, replacing them with intuition and inspiration.

Spiritually, it is believed amethyst stimulates insight into the reality of one’s spirit. It may also align the spirit with a sense of justice, honesty, and righteousness. When used to meditate, amethyst may help to find inner peace and wisdom (Gienger, 214).

Michael Gienger, Crystal Power, Crystal Healing (London: Cassell & Co., 2000), 214-217.
Peter Darling, Crystal Identifier (New York: Shooting Star Press, Inc., 1996), 99.
Mindat.org. “Amethyst.” Accessed September 16, 2010 <http://www.mindat.org/min-198.html>