Amethyst is the widely known and very popular purple form of macrocrystalline Quartz and is, in fact, one of the most valuable forms of the common mineral. Amethyst is famous for its purple color, which is caused by iron impurities within the structure of the Quartz crystal. Beyond the traditional big four ‘precious stones,’ which are Diamond, Ruby, Sapphire, and Emerald, Amethyst is probably the most recognizable and well-known type of gemstone to the general public. Amethyst is also the birthstone for February.
Etymology & Sources
The name ‘Amethyst’ is derived from the Greek word ‘Amethystos,’ which translates to ‘not drunken,’ and ancient Greeks believed that Amethysts had the ability to protect against or prevent inebriation (in our experience, it doesn’t work). Because of this, it is not uncommon to see historical wine vessels and goblets encrusted with the purple gemstone. Purple was also historically considered the color of royalty, and as such, the Amethyst was particularly popular among the nobility. Historically speaking, Amethysts were considered very rare until large supplies of them were found in deposits in Brazil around the turn of the 19th century. Nowadays, Amethysts are much more common than they were, and deposits exist in Brazil, Bolivia, Canada, Russia, and many other places.
Amethyst is purple and can range from a light, lilac color to a deep and intense purple. Amethyst can range from transparent to translucent and has a vitreous luster. The most valuable forms of the gemstone are generally the darker deep purple variety, and higher clarity is typically heavily favored. Since Amethyst is a form of Quartz, it has decent hardness suitable for many different decorative applications.
Amethyst has a Moh scale hardness of around 7, similar to other Quartz, and has a specific gravity of about 2.65 and a refractive index value of roughly 1.55.
Higher quality Amethyst is usually faceted into traditional gemstone shapes, but sometimes lower quality, lighter, or more translucent Amethyst is cut en cabochon or into beads – these are particularly popular with jewelry-making enthusiasts. Due to the availability of large Amethyst crystals, carvings and other ornaments can also be carved. Amethyst can also be found sold in geode form, either for decorative purposes or for those that believe in crystal healing for health reasons.
- Amethyst Quartz – Usually a mixture of Amethyst and Clear Quartz, it is typically a mixture of a white milky color and purple. It is rarely faceted and most often formed into beads or cabochons.
- Green Amethyst – Light green form of Quartz, where the colors are artificially created by subjecting Amethyst to heat treatment. It is also known as Prasiolite.
- Ametrine – Natural mixture of Amethyst and Citrine that often has a clear and abrupt split between the purple Amethyst part and the yellow Citrine part. Only comes naturally from one source in Bolivia, but can also be synthetically created.
Amethyst is occasionally heat-treated to improve the intensity of the purple color. Heat treatment can also be used to turn Amethyst into Citrine, or the artificial green Quartz variety Prasiolite (mentioned above). Amethyst can also be created synthetically.
Advice to Help You Shop for Amethyst Jewelry
Amethyst is a lilac to a purple variety of quartz, its color formed from iron impurities within the stones. Royal families have identified with the deep purple gemstone for centuries, and many who love amethyst believe it possesses mystical and healing properties.
Amethyst’s color can be altered with heat treatments — the gem can be transformed into darker hues and even turned yellow to resemble citrine, another member of the quartz family. Another gemstone, called ametrine is a naturally occurring mixture of amethyst and citrine and displays the colors of both. So far, the majority of ametrine used in jewelry has been found in Bolivia.
Most of today’s amethyst jewelry is made with either heat-treated gemstones of amethyst that’s been grown in a laboratory, rather than found in nature.
Like other varieties of quartz, amethyst is rated at 7 on the Mohs Scale of Mineral Hardness.
Amethyst is the February birthstone (Shop for Birthstone Jewelry).
What Is the Cursed Amethyst?
London’s Natural History Museum is the home of the Cursed Amethyst, sometimes called the Blasted Amethyst. The large amethyst was stolen from a temple in India in the mid-1800s and taken to England. It is the central stone in the photo to the left — click for a larger image.
Legend says that the cavalry officer who removed the gem from India became ill and lost all of his money shortly after returning to England. His son inherited the amethyst, and shortly afterwards his life changed for the worse, too. The next owner was Edward Heron-Allen, whose luck also took a downward turn after taking possession of the amethyst.
Heron-Allen decided the amethyst was cursed, and he locked it in a bank vault, out of anyone’s reach, leaving instructions that the package holding the stone not be opened until 3 years after his death. In 1943, Heron-Allen’s daughter donated the stone to the Natural History Museum, along with a note written by her father that said ‘this stone is trebly accursed and is stained with the blood and the dishonor of everyone who has ever owned it.’
The Cursed Amethyst remains in the museum’s Vault, a special display area that houses a collection of unique gems, crystals, and meteorites, including meteorites from Mars. Another special gem on display is called the Medusa emerald. Its long crystals were embedded in a ‘brick’ of quartz, and it took several months for experts to remove a portion of the covering.
Do you believe that gemstones can be cursed? You can see the Cursed Amethyst at the Natural History Museum.
Amethyst Used for Alternative Healing
Amethyst has probably been used for healing therapies since the stone was discovered in ancient times. The word amethyst is originated from a Greek word that means ‘not drunken,’ and one of the gem’s most popular traditional uses has been to prevent physical and mental addictions.
The word protection is often associated with amethyst, and the gem is believed to enhance a person’s connection with the divine. Amethyst elixirs have been used to treat bone and joint conditions, and the gem is said to aid sleep. Some people place amethysts in bedrooms, often choosing amethyst geodes that have been opened.
More Gemstones Used by Alternative Healing Practitioners
Crystal healing has been used worldwide since ancient times. Our references explain how alternative health practitioners use some of the most popular gems and can help you locate a school that offers classes about gemstone healing.
Selenite Crystal Healing – Traditional Therapy with Crystals and Gemstones
Selenite is used by alternative health practitioners. Learn how selenite is used for traditional healing purposes. Selenite is a soft, translucent mineral that is a more clear form of gypsum. The selenite I see most often is white (colorless), but it also occurs in blue, green, brown, or grayish color.
Selenite Used for Healing
- Selenite has a reputation for clearing and strengthening the spine (some crystal shops have selenite “tree trunks” for customers to rest on)
- Selenite is used to cleanse the aura and to remove negativity from the energy field
- Selenite has been used to de-stress and energize
Crystal Healing with Aquamarine
Learn how alternative health practitioners use aquamarine for crystal healing.
Aquamarine, the March birthstone, is a form of beryl, the same mineral family that emerald belongs to. High quality of aquamarines are very clear, with fewer inclusions than emerald, but aquamarine that is less clear can be just as beautiful.
Aquamarine gemstone exists in many shades of blue, from pale to sky blue, and some stones are tinged with green due to the presence of iron. Deeper colored aquamarines have the highest monetary value.
Aquamarine is durable and is rated at 7.5 on the Mohs Scale (vs. diamond at 10).
Aquamarine Used for Healing
- Aquamarine is believed to help normalize hormonal functions, especially hormones of the thyroid and pituitary glands
- Aquamarine has been used to treat a sore throat
- Emotionally, aquamarine is said to help the wearer release negative thought patterns and come to a better understanding of past challenges
More About Aquamarine
Rose Quartz Crystal Healing – Traditional Therapy with Crystals and Gemstones
Rose quartz is a favorite healing crystal. Learn how rose quartz is used by crystal healing practitioners.
A member of the abundant (and generally inexpensive) quartz family, rose quartz is possibly one of the most popular gemstones used for healing purposes, in part because it is the choice of those who have a casual interest in crystal therapy.
Rose quartz is rated at 7 on the Mohs Scale (vs. diamond at 10). Its natural color varies greatly, from blush pink to a deeper rose, with darker colors regarded as more therapeutic. Rose quartz can be somewhat transparent, translucent, or opaque. Much of the rose quartz on today’s market has been color enhanced.
Rose Quartz Used for Healing
- Most traditional healing abilities of rose quartz center around the heart, its physical state and the emotional state of the heart chakra
- Rose quartz is told to strengthen and also purify the circulatory system
- Many wears rose quartz to enhance fertility
- The Rose quartz is thought to help the adrenals and kidneys, and enhance the immune system
What’s a Herkimer Diamond? – Traditional Healing with Crystals and Gemstones
Herkimer diamonds are used by alternative health practitioners who practice crystal healing, but the stones aren’t diamonds. We’ll explain.
Herkimer diamonds are actually clear quartz crystals tagged with that name because they are found near Herkimer, New York, and their crystal form resembles the shape of a diamond. The stone ranks at 7.5 on the Mohs Scale (vs. diamond at 10), which is somewhat harder than typical quartz, at 7.
Some Herkimer diamonds are smoky in color.
Herkimer Diamond Used in Healing
- Herkimer diamonds are thought to have cleansing and protective qualities, detoxifying the system (or a room) after contact with a damaging substance
- Herkimer diamonds may help alleviate stress
- The stones may strengthen and support the eyes
Disclaimer: Information about crystal healing is not intended as medical advice or a substitute for professional medical care.
My gemstone healing articles are a quick introduction to traditional beliefs that specific crystals and gemstones can be used in ways that go beyond simple body decor. If you are reading this page, you must be interested in crystal healing; for more in-depth information, consult with an alternative health care practitioner or enroll in a crystal therapy course of study.
What is the green amethyst?
Generally, when people think of the amethyst picture of traditional purple stones. However, one of the latest trends in modern jewelry is the use of a stone known as green amethyst instead.
This unique stone is usually clear and has a soft sage green. But what is the green amethyst? What is the difference between it and purple amethyst? Let’s look at the answers to those questions.
Green amethyst is actually the result of a unique natural property that has purple amethyst. Interestingly, when heated loses purple amethyst purple color, and turns green. When you buy a piece of jewelry amethyst often advises you to keep away from heat for this exact reason.
So in essence, the traditional purple amethyst green amethyst has been heated and has lost its purple. For technical assistance as the proper term is actually “greening” the amethyst, but most people call it “green” instead of amethyst. You can also hear people refer to it as that is the name prasiolite green room.
If the conditions are right, the green amethyst can occur in nature. For the most part, however, is usually created in a laboratory by heating amethyst purple to create the pale green.
Typically the cost is about the same or even slightly less purple amethyst. Be sure to talk with your jewelry before buying a green stone.
Reputable sellers will be willing to tell you whether or not made in a lab or produced naturally, which could determine the value. You should also be able to tell if a stone is a really green amethyst (i.e., was made of amethyst purple) or whether it is simply clear quartz that has been dyed green.
If you shop around, compare prices, and buy from a reputable seller you can find some really beautiful jewelry green amethyst in the market. Like its counterpart purple can be used for years and should hold its value. Just keep in mind that the most important thing is that as the stone and you’re happy with your purchase of jewelry.