Amethyst

Amethyst

Overview
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

  a- ("not") and μέθυστος methustos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness
Drunkenness
Alcohol intoxication is a physiological state that occurs when a person has a high level of ethanol in his or her blood....

; the ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 wore amethyst and made drinking
Drinking
Drinking is the act of consuming water or a beverage through the mouth. Water is required for many of life’s physiological processes. Both excessive and inadequate water intake are associated with health problems.-Physiology:...

 vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

. Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.

Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 (SiO2), containing an impurity of iron, which gives the violet color to the mineral.
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Encyclopedia
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 often used in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek
Ancient Greek is the stage of the Greek language in the periods spanning the times c. 9th–6th centuries BC, , c. 5th–4th centuries BC , and the c. 3rd century BC – 6th century AD of ancient Greece and the ancient world; being predated in the 2nd millennium BC by Mycenaean Greek...

  a- ("not") and μέθυστος methustos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness
Drunkenness
Alcohol intoxication is a physiological state that occurs when a person has a high level of ethanol in his or her blood....

; the ancient Greeks
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece is a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history that lasted from the Archaic period of the 8th to 6th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Included in Ancient Greece is the...

 and Romans
Ancient Rome
Ancient Rome was a thriving civilization that grew on the Italian Peninsula as early as the 8th century BC. Located along the Mediterranean Sea and centered on the city of Rome, it expanded to one of the largest empires in the ancient world....

 wore amethyst and made drinking
Drinking
Drinking is the act of consuming water or a beverage through the mouth. Water is required for many of life’s physiological processes. Both excessive and inadequate water intake are associated with health problems.-Physiology:...

 vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication. It is one of several forms of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

. Amethyst is the traditional birthstone for February.

Structure


Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz
Quartz
Quartz is the second-most-abundant mineral in the Earth's continental crust, after feldspar. It is made up of a continuous framework of SiO4 silicon–oxygen tetrahedra, with each oxygen being shared between two tetrahedra, giving an overall formula SiO2. There are many different varieties of quartz,...

 (SiO2), containing an impurity of iron, which gives the violet color to the mineral. The hardness of the mineral is the same as quartz's, thus it is suitable for use in jewelry.

Hue and tone


Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light pinkish violet to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue. The ideal grade is called "Deep Siberian" and has a primary purple hue of around 75–80%, 15–20% blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues. Green quartz is sometimes incorrectly called green amethyst, which is an actual misnomer and not an acceptable name for the material, the proper terminology being Prasiolite
Prasiolite
Prasiolite, green-quartz or vermarine is a green form of quartz, a silicate mineral chemically silicon dioxide. Prasiolite is one of several quartz varieties....

. It is actually against FTC Guidelines to call prasiolite green amethyst. Other names for green quartz are vermarine, greened amethyst, or lime citrine.

Of very variable intensity, the color of amethyst is often laid out in stripes parallel to the final faces of the crystal. One aspect in the art of lapidary
Lapidary
A lapidary is an artist or artisan who forms stone, mineral, gemstones, and other suitably durable materials into decorative items such as engraved gems, including cameos, or cabochons, and faceted designs...

 involves the correct cutting to place the color correctly in order to make the tone of the cut stones homogeneous. The fact that sometimes only a thin surface layer of violet color is present in the stone, or that the color is not homogeneous often makes for a difficult cutting.

The color of amethyst has been demonstrated to result from substitution of trivalent iron (Fe3+) in the structure. When heated, amethyst may turm yellow-orange, yellow-brown, or dark brownish and may resemble citrine.

History



Amethyst was used as a gemstone
Gemstone
A gemstone or gem is a piece of mineral, which, in cut and polished form, is used to make jewelry or other adornments...

 by the ancient Egypt
Egypt
Egypt , officially the Arab Republic of Egypt, Arabic: , is a country mainly in North Africa, with the Sinai Peninsula forming a land bridge in Southwest Asia. Egypt is thus a transcontinental country, and a major power in Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, the Middle East and the Muslim world...

ians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems.

The Greeks believed amethyst gems could prevent intoxication, while medieval European soldiers wore amethyst amulets as protection in battle – the reason for this being that amethysts are believed to heal people and keep them cool-headed. Beads of amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon
Anglo-Saxons
Anglo-Saxon is a term used by historians to designate the Germanic tribes who invaded and settled the south and east of Great Britain beginning in the early 5th century AD, and the period from their creation of the English nation to the Norman conquest. The Anglo-Saxon Era denotes the period of...

 graves in England.

A large geode
Geode
Geodes are geological secondary sedimentary structures which occur in sedimentary and certain volcanic rocks. Geodes are essentially spherical masses of mineral matter that were deposited sygenetically within the rock formations they are found in. Geodes have a Chalcedony shell containing...

, or "amethyst-grotto", from near Santa Cruz in southern Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 was presented at the 1902 exhibition in Düsseldorf, Germany.

In the 19th century, the color of amethyst was attributed to the presence of manganese
Manganese
Manganese is a chemical element, designated by the symbol Mn. It has the atomic number 25. It is found as a free element in nature , and in many minerals...

. However, since it is capable of being greatly altered and even discharged by heat, the color was believed by some authorities to be from an organic source. Ferric
Iron
Iron is a chemical element with the symbol Fe and atomic number 26. It is a metal in the first transition series. It is the most common element forming the planet Earth as a whole, forming much of Earth's outer and inner core. It is the fourth most common element in the Earth's crust...

 thiocyanate
Thiocyanate
Thiocyanate is the anion [SCN]−. It is the conjugate base of thiocyanic acid. Common derivatives include the colourless salts potassium thiocyanate and sodium thiocyanate. Organic compounds containing the functional group SCN are also called thiocyanates...

 has been suggested, and sulfur
Sulfur
Sulfur or sulphur is the chemical element with atomic number 16. In the periodic table it is represented by the symbol S. It is an abundant, multivalent non-metal. Under normal conditions, sulfur atoms form cyclic octatomic molecules with chemical formula S8. Elemental sulfur is a bright yellow...

 was said to have been detected in the mineral.

Synthetic amethyst


Synthetic amethyst is thus man-made by gamma-ray, x-ray
X-ray
X-radiation is a form of electromagnetic radiation. X-rays have a wavelength in the range of 0.01 to 10 nanometers, corresponding to frequencies in the range 30 petahertz to 30 exahertz and energies in the range 120 eV to 120 keV. They are shorter in wavelength than UV rays and longer than gamma...

 or electron beam irradiation of clear quartz which has been first doped with ferric impurities. On exposure to heat, the irradiation effects can be partially cancelled and amethyst generally becomes yellow or even green, and much of the citrine, cairngorm, or yellow quartz of jewelry is said to be merely "burnt amethyst".

Synthetic amethyst is made to imitate the best quality amethyst. Its chemical and physical properties are so similar to that of natural amethyst that it can not be differentiated with absolute certainty without advanced gemnological testing (which is often cost-prohibitive). There is one test based on "Brazil law twinning" (a form of quartz twinning
Crystal twinning
Crystal twinning occurs when two separate crystals share some of the same crystal lattice points in a symmetrical manner. The result is an intergrowth of two separate crystals in a variety of specific configurations. A twin boundary or composition surface separates the two crystals....

 where right and left hand quartz structures are combined in a single crystal) which can be used to identify synthetic amethyst rather easily. It is possible to synthesize twinned amethyst, but this type is not available in large quantities in the market.

Mythology


The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken", from Greek a-, "not" + methustos, "intoxicated". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. In Greek mythology, Dionysus
Dionysus
Dionysus was the god of the grape harvest, winemaking and wine, of ritual madness and ecstasy in Greek mythology. His name in Linear B tablets shows he was worshipped from c. 1500—1100 BC by Mycenean Greeks: other traces of Dionysian-type cult have been found in ancient Minoan Crete...

, the god of intoxication, and of wine, was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, a prayer which the goddess Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

 answered, transforming her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos's desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.

Variations of the story include that Dionysus had been insulted by a mortal and swore to slay the next mortal who crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wrath. The mortal turned out to be a beautiful young woman, Amethystos, who was on her way to pay tribute to Artemis
Artemis
Artemis was one of the most widely venerated of the Ancient Greek deities. Her Roman equivalent is Diana. Some scholars believe that the name and indeed the goddess herself was originally pre-Greek. Homer refers to her as Artemis Agrotera, Potnia Theron: "Artemis of the wildland, Mistress of Animals"...

. Her life was spared by Artemis, who transformed the maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears then stained the quartz purple. Another variation involves the titan Rhea
Rhea (mythology)
Rhea was the Titaness daughter of Uranus, the sky, and Gaia, the earth, in Greek mythology. She was known as "the mother of gods". In earlier traditions, she was strongly associated with Gaia and Cybele, the Great Goddess, and was later seen by the classical Greeks as the mother of the Olympian...

 presenting Dionysus with the amethyst stone to preserve the wine-drinker's sanity.

Geographic distribution


Amethyst is produced in abundance from the state of Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais is one of the 26 states of Brazil, of which it is the second most populous, the third richest, and the fourth largest in area. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of Presidents of Brazil, the current one, Dilma Rousseff, being one of them. The capital is the...

 in Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 where it occurs in large geode
Geode
Geodes are geological secondary sedimentary structures which occur in sedimentary and certain volcanic rocks. Geodes are essentially spherical masses of mineral matter that were deposited sygenetically within the rock formations they are found in. Geodes have a Chalcedony shell containing...

s within volcanic rock
Volcanic rock
Volcanic rock is a rock formed from magma erupted from a volcano. In other words, it is an igneous rock of volcanic origin...

s. Many of the hollow agates of southwestern Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

 and Uruguay
Uruguay
Uruguay ,officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay,sometimes the Eastern Republic of Uruguay; ) is a country in the southeastern part of South America. It is home to some 3.5 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the capital Montevideo and its metropolitan area...

 contain a crop of amethyst crystals in the interior. Artigas, Uruguay
Artigas, Uruguay
Artigas is the capital of the Artigas Department of Uruguay. The name Artigas comes from that of the national hero, Jose Gervasio Artigas, who fought for the emancipation of the River Plate, and sought to create a federative nation from these colonies...

 and neighboring Brazilian state Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul
Rio Grande do Sul is the southernmost state in Brazil, and the state with the fifth highest Human Development Index in the country. In this state is located the southernmost city in the country, Chuí, on the border with Uruguay. In the region of Bento Gonçalves and Caxias do Sul, the largest wine...

 are large world producers exceeding in quantity Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais
Minas Gerais is one of the 26 states of Brazil, of which it is the second most populous, the third richest, and the fourth largest in area. Minas Gerais is the Brazilian state with the largest number of Presidents of Brazil, the current one, Dilma Rousseff, being one of them. The capital is the...

, as well as Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso
Mato Grosso is one of the states of Brazil, the third largest in area, located in the western part of the country.Neighboring states are Rondônia, Amazonas, Pará, Tocantins, Goiás and Mato Grosso do Sul. It also borders Bolivia to the southwest...

, Espirito Santo
Espírito Santo
Espírito Santo is one of the states of southeastern Brazil, often referred to by the abbreviation "ES". Its capital is Vitória and the largest city is Vila Velha. The name of the state means literally "holy spirit" after the Holy Ghost of Christianity...

, Bahia
Bahia
Bahia is one of the 26 states of Brazil, and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the fourth most populous Brazilian state after São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro, and the fifth-largest in size...

, and Ceará
Ceará
Ceará is one of the 27 states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the Atlantic coast. It is currently the 8th largest Brazilian State by population and the 17th by area. It is also one of the main touristic destinations in Brazil. The state capital is the city of...

 states, all amethyst producers of importance in Brazil.

It is also found and mined in South Korea
South Korea
The Republic of Korea , , is a sovereign state in East Asia, located on the southern portion of the Korean Peninsula. It is neighbored by the People's Republic of China to the west, Japan to the east, North Korea to the north, and the East China Sea and Republic of China to the south...

. The largest opencast amethyst vein in the world is in Maissau
Maissau
Maissau is a municipality in the district of Hollabrunn in Lower Austria, Austria....

, Lower Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

. Much fine amethyst comes from Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

, especially from near Mursinka in the Ekaterinburg district, where it occurs in drusy
Druse (geology)
In geological usage druse or druzy is a coating of fine crystals on a rock fracture surface, vein or within a vug or geode.- Occurrence :Druse occurs worldwide, the most common is perhaps quartz druse within voids in chert or agates...

 cavities in granitic rocks. Many localities in south India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

 yield amethyst. One of the largest global amethyst producers is Zambia
Zambia
Zambia , officially the Republic of Zambia, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. The neighbouring countries are the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west....

 in southern Africa
Africa
Africa is the world's second largest and second most populous continent, after Asia. At about 30.2 million km² including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of the Earth's total surface area and 20.4% of the total land area...

 with an annual production of about 1000 tonnes.

Amethyst occurs at many localities in the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

. Among these may be mentioned: the Mazatzal Mountain region in Gila
Gila County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*76.8% White*0.4% Black*14.8% Native American*0.5% Asian*0.1% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*2.0% Two or more races*5.4% Other races*17.9% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

 and Maricopa Counties
Maricopa County, Arizona
-2010:Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:*73.0% White*5.0% Black*2.1% Native American*3.5% Asian*0.2% Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander*3.5% Two or more races*12.7% Other races*29.6% Hispanic or Latino -2000:...

, Arizona
Arizona
Arizona ; is a state located in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the western United States and the mountain west. The capital and largest city is Phoenix...

; Red Feather Lakes, near Ft Collins, Colorado; Amethyst Mountain, Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

; Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park
Yellowstone National Park, established by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by President Ulysses S. Grant on March 1, 1872, is a national park located primarily in the U.S. state of Wyoming, although it also extends into Montana and Idaho...

; Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Delaware County, Pennsylvania
Delaware County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of 2010, the population was 558,979, making it Pennsylvania's fifth most populous county, behind Philadelphia, Allegheny, Montgomery, and Bucks counties....

; Haywood County, North Carolina
Haywood County, North Carolina
-National protected areas:* Blue Ridge Parkway * Great Smoky Mountains National Park * Pisgah National Forest -Major Highways & Roads:* Interstate 40* U.S. Highway 19* U.S. Highway 23* U.S. Highway 74* U.S...

; Deer Hill and Stow, Maine
Maine
Maine is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east and south, New Hampshire to the west, and the Canadian provinces of Quebec to the northwest and New Brunswick to the northeast. Maine is both the northernmost and easternmost...

 and in the Lake Superior
Lake Superior
Lake Superior is the largest of the five traditionally-demarcated Great Lakes of North America. It is bounded to the north by the Canadian province of Ontario and the U.S. state of Minnesota, and to the south by the U.S. states of Wisconsin and Michigan. It is the largest freshwater lake in the...

 region of Minnesota
Minnesota
Minnesota is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States. The twelfth largest state of the U.S., it is the twenty-first most populous, with 5.3 million residents. Minnesota was carved out of the eastern half of the Minnesota Territory and admitted to the Union as the thirty-second state...

, Wisconsin
Wisconsin
Wisconsin is a U.S. state located in the north-central United States and is part of the Midwest. It is bordered by Minnesota to the west, Iowa to the southwest, Illinois to the south, Lake Michigan to the east, Michigan to the northeast, and Lake Superior to the north. Wisconsin's capital is...

, Michigan
Michigan
Michigan is a U.S. state located in the Great Lakes Region of the United States of America. The name Michigan is the French form of the Ojibwa word mishigamaa, meaning "large water" or "large lake"....

, and Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

 in Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

. Amethyst is relatively common in Ontario
Ontario
Ontario is a province of Canada, located in east-central Canada. It is Canada's most populous province and second largest in total area. It is home to the nation's most populous city, Toronto, and the nation's capital, Ottawa....

, and in various locations throughout Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia
Nova Scotia is one of Canada's three Maritime provinces and is the most populous province in Atlantic Canada. The name of the province is Latin for "New Scotland," but "Nova Scotia" is the recognized, English-language name of the province. The provincial capital is Halifax. Nova Scotia is the...

. The largest amethyst mine in North America
North America
North America is a continent wholly within the Northern Hemisphere and almost wholly within the Western Hemisphere. It is also considered a northern subcontinent of the Americas...

 is located in Thunder Bay
Thunder Bay
-In Canada:Thunder Bay is the name of three places in the province of Ontario, Canada along Lake Superior:*Thunder Bay District, Ontario, a district in Northwestern Ontario*Thunder Bay, a city in Thunder Bay District*Thunder Bay, Unorganized, Ontario...

, Ontario.

Value


Up until the 18th century, amethyst was included in the cardinal
Cardinal gem
Cardinal gems are gems which have traditionally considered precious above all others. The classification of the cardinal gems dates back to antiquity, and was largely determined by ceremonial or religious use and rarity. The term has largely fallen out of favour with modern gemologists.The five...

, or most valuable, gemstones (along with diamond
Diamond
In mineralogy, diamond is an allotrope of carbon, where the carbon atoms are arranged in a variation of the face-centered cubic crystal structure called a diamond lattice. Diamond is less stable than graphite, but the conversion rate from diamond to graphite is negligible at ambient conditions...

, sapphire
Sapphire
Sapphire is a gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, an aluminium oxide , when it is a color other than red or dark pink; in which case the gem would instead be called a ruby, considered to be a different gemstone. Trace amounts of other elements such as iron, titanium, or chromium can give...

, ruby
Ruby
A ruby is a pink to blood-red colored gemstone, a variety of the mineral corundum . The red color is caused mainly by the presence of the element chromium. Its name comes from ruber, Latin for red. Other varieties of gem-quality corundum are called sapphires...

, and emerald
Emerald
Emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl colored green by trace amounts of chromium and sometimes vanadium. Beryl has a hardness of 7.5–8 on the 10 point Mohs scale of mineral hardness...

). However, since the discovery of extensive deposits in locations such as Brazil
Brazil
Brazil , officially the Federative Republic of Brazil , is the largest country in South America. It is the world's fifth largest country, both by geographical area and by population with over 192 million people...

, it has lost most of its value.

Collectors look for depth of color, possibly with red flashes if cut conventionally. The highest grade amethyst (called "Deep Russian") is exceptionally rare and therefore, when one is found, its value is dependent on the demand of collectors. It is, however, still orders of magnitude lower than the highest grade sapphires or rubies (padparadscha sapphire or "pigeon's blood" ruby).

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