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Amethyst is the name commonly used for crystalline quartz that is in the color range from pale lilac to deep purple. It is probably the most important and valuable quartz gem. The paler lilac shades are sometimes called “Rose de France”. The darker stones are sometimes called Siberian Amethyst. Although Siberia is no longer a source of amethyst, it was famous for producing the finest, richly colored stones. Most amethyst now comes from South America (Brazil, Bolivia and Uruguay) or Africa (Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya and other countries). In general, African Amethyst is darker, but usually smaller. South American Amethyst tends to be lighter in color but available in larger sizes. Due to its hardness ( 7 on the mohs scale) it is a very “wearable” gemstone, great for rings or any other piece of jewelry.
Because of its purple color, it has often been associated with royalty, and as a symbol of piety, it has been very important in the Catholic church and other religions. The gemstone also symbolizes sobriety. The Greek word “amethysts” basically means “not drunken.” Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it!
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