The name for the mineral amethyst comes from the Greek word amethyst which means not drunken. In the first century a famous Greek god wrote that amethyst was named for its color being nearly the same as the color of wine. Early Greeks believed that drinking wine from an amethyst cup would prevent intoxication, or getting drunk. Amethyst is a purple gemstone. Iron and manganese compounds or impurities cause this purple coloration. The purple color of amethyst is due to small amounts (approximately 40 parts per million) of iron (Fe4+) impurities at certain areas in the crystal structure of quartz. The difference between amethyst and citrine is only the Oxidation State of the iron impurities in the quartz. When heated, the iron impurities are reduced and the amethyst’s purple color fades and becomes yellow to reddish-orange (citrine), green, or colorless depending on the area and the original oxidation state of the iron impurities currently and the amount and time of the heating. The amethystine color usually can come back by irradiation, which re-oxidizes the iron impurities. The process can be done in a laboratory, but not often and when done is very difficult to tell that the mineral is synthetic. The color can also come back by a natural process of decomposing of a nearby radioactive mineral. This is mostly a reversible process, but constant heating can change the distribution of the iron impurities at different sites within the quartz making it impossible to convert it back to amethyst by post irradiation. The heating process can occur naturally or synthetically. It’s known to be one of the most valuable quartz stones and it’s also known to be high in price. Amethyst is readily available in all sizes and shapes. Amethyst is made out of crystalline quartz. Crystalline quartz is a dichroic crystal and if the quartz is heated it will change the color of the mineral into yellow, creating another gemstone or mineral called citrine. Crystals that are part Citrine and part Amethyst are called Ametrine. There is more of the mineral quartz in the world then there is any other mineral. Quartz takes up about 12% of the earth’s crust. Quartz occurs in an unlimited variety of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks. Types of quartz are separated into two groups based on the size of the individual grains or crystals: Macrocrystalline quartz is where individual crystals are seen only with the naked eye, and cryptocrystalline quartz is where the individual crystals are too small to be easily seen even under the light microscope. Amethyst, Ametrine, Cat’s-eye Quartz, Citrine, Phantom Quartz, Rock Crystal, Rose Quartz, Rutilated Quartz, and Smoky Quartz, Blue Aventurine Quartz and Green Aventurine Quartz are some of the macrocrystalline quartz varieties. Fibrous and microgranular are the two main types of cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz. Amethyst has been found in siliceous volcanic, occurring as macroscopic crystals, or crystals that are visible to the naked eye and covered with a large number of small crystal vugs, or small cavities in a rock or vein, often with a mineral lining of different composition from that of the surrounding rock often forming geodes. Amethyst also occurs in quartz veins. Amethyst is found in geodes. Geodes are alluvial deposits. The largest quantity of Amethyst is found in the country of Brazil. But Amethyst is found in many other places in the world like Sri Lanka, India, Uruguay, Madagascar, USA, Germany, Australia, Namibia, Zambia, and Russia. In Russia the mineral has a reddish tint to it. A coat of red hematite, or iron, causes this reddish hue that is inside of the mineral itself. And in Canada Amethyst is more of a violet shade. If the Amethyst is of poor quality it is used for beads. It’s hardness is 7, and its cleavage equals to nothing. Its composition is silicon dioxide (SiO2) and its streak is white. Its luster is metallic and it has fracture. When Amethyst is formed under high pressure it has hexagonal symmetry. When it is formed under low pressure it has a disorted structure and has tribunal symmetry. This mineral has many myths to it. Amethyst is known to bring serenity and calmness, to enhance a person’s ability to come up with new ideas, and to assist during meditation. It is also said to give strength and mental stability, and to provide balance between one’s physical, emotional, and intellectual stages. Amethyst is also said to make one shrewd in business matters. Amethyst is said to help remove any kind of poisons or toxins from the body and to help treat arthritis. It is also known to be useful in treating numerous disorders including those of the digestive system, heart, nervous system, skin and hearing and to help relieve pain from and to strengthen the immune system. The astrological signs of amethyst are Pisces, Virgo, Aquarius and Capricorn. Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February. Amethyst is the symbolic gemstone for the 17th wedding anniversary.
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