Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz. The name comes from the Greek amethustos which means “not intoxicate” a reference to the belief that Amethyst stones protect the wearer from drunkenness. Perfect for anyone who is struggling with dry January this month! ;)
Amethyst’s colour ranges from pale lilac, also known as “Rose de France”, to reddish purple or violetish purple. High quality amethyst can be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil and Uruguay.
Amethyst usually grows in geodes, formed when large crystals grow in open spaces inside the rock. You may have noticed a couple of these in our Holts Lapidary showroom. (picture on the left)
The largest amethyst geode on record was found in Uruguay. Named “The Empress or Uruguay” it stands nearly 11ft tall and weighs an impressive 2500kg. The Empress of Uruguay was discovered in the Artigas region in northern Uruguay, a mining area famous for yielding some of the world’s finest quality amethysts.
Crystal Caves Museum founders Rene and Nelleke Boissevain purchased the geode for $75,000 in 2007. They paid an additional $25,000 to ship it to Queensland, Australia! Moving the massive geode 9,100 miles was no easy task, it had to be packed in a custom steel container and moved into position in the museum with two cranes. Miraculously it arrived there in one piece!