Amethyst is a purple variety in the quartz family, whose other members include citrine, yellow quartz and smoky brown quartz. The colour can range from a delicate pink, through lilac, to a deep purple, often with bands of white. Amethysts can be faceted but also shaped and polished into cabochons. The amethyst is thought to derive its colour from the presence of tiny quantities of manganese and iron in the quartz.
Did you know?
- Amethyst is the birthstone for February.
- The name is derived from the Greek word a-methustos meaning sobriety, as the Greeks believed that the stone would stop the wearer from succumbing to drunkenness. Wine goblets were often carved from amethyst for this reason.
- In the Middle Ages, European soldiers wore amethyst amulets to protect them in battle.
- Certain types of amethyst, usually those found in Brazil, can be heated to a yellow colour and eventually called topaz.