Amethyst, from the quartz family of gems, ranges in colour from pale lilac to dark purple. The deep colours are considered the most valuable, particularly the rich purple colour with hints of rose flashes. Used throughout the ages for its appearance, fine quality amethysts are among the gemstones used in the British Crown Jewels, were a favourite of Catherine the Great of Russia and used in antiquity by the Egyptians.
Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, the name itself is derived from the Greek word “amethystos” which can be translated as “not drunken”. Consequently, wine goblets were often carved from it and the gemstone still symbolises sobriety. However, in Tibet, it is considered to be sacred and often used in rosaries.
The most important deposits of amethyst are found in Brazil, Madagascar, Zambia and Uruguay. It is also mined in Myanmar, Mexico, Canada, Russia, India, Namibia, Sri Lanka and the United States.