Renowned for its splendorous hue, an amethyst is the most popular variety of quartz. This stunning semi-precious stone is formed in geodes called "hollow rocks". Found all across the globe, they develop underground in long prismatic clusters above the geode base. Typically, this gemstone occurs as a six-sided crystal and a crystalline crust that coats other rocks. Most of the amethyst jewelry available today is created from the pyramid-shaped crystal formations.
The presence of iron and aluminum impurities are responsible for this gem's prized hue that ranges from a pale lilac to a deep, intense purple. An amethyst, like other varieties of macrocrystalline quartz, has a translucent luster and the best quality gemstone features good saturation with minimal color zoning.
Amethyst has been a highly esteemed gem for centuries and was once equivalent to rubies and sapphires. The discovery of huge deposits of amethyst stones in South America and other countries increased its availability and simultaneously reduced its rarity and price. In spite of this, it still remains one of the most popular choices among the many semi-precious gemstones available today.
While South America is still the most prominent source for large sized amethyst stones, they are also found in Brazil, United States, Canada, Mexico, Africa, Australia and India. While the mines in Africa produce some of the most deep-purple colored and smaller sized amethyst stones, Australia is renowned for the darkest varieties. The color of the gem may vary depending on the region it belongs to, but the chemical properties remain the same.