Mineral Class: Quartz
Crystal System: Trigonal
Diaphaneity: Transparent to translucent
Colors: Purple (light and dark), Pink, and Black
Source: Worldwide (including Brazil and Uruguay)
Amethyst is a variety of quartz, ranging from light purple to dark purple. Amethyst is a semiprecious stone that is often used in jewelry and is the traditional birthstone for February. Amethyst has been used by the ancient Greeks and Romans to denote royalty and high class. Archaeologists have found Amethysts in roman digs, as well as European church sites. Beads of Amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England.
Amethyst derives from the Greek word Amethystos meaning 'not intoxicated'. This led the Greeks to believe Amethyst gems could prevent intoxication. Anglican bishops wear an episcopal ring often set with an Amethyst, an allusion to the description of the Apostles as "not drunk" at Pentecost in Acts 2:15. In modern Europe, royalty wore robes and clothing dyed the rich purple of Amethyst and wore the gems as accessories. Even today the Queen of England is seen wearing a brooch from the Kent Amethyst set. Amethyst is one of the more well-known, popular crystals and is considered the most highly prized variety of quartz.