#7 hardness on Mohs scale, good toughness. Sources are Brazil(major source), India, Namibia, Sri Lanka, United States, Uruguay, Zambia. A closely related quartz variety called ametrine contains a striking mixture of two contrasting quartzes—purple amethyst and yellow citrine. Ametrine deposits are found in Brazil, and Bolivia.
Amethyst has been the most prized member of the quartz family for centuries. Early Greek legends, and its wine purple color, associated amethyst with Bacchus, the god of wine. Other legend led to beliefs that amethyst gems kept their wearers clear-headed and quick-witted in battle, and in their business affairs. It’s no wonder that fine amethyst adorns the fingers of bishops and the coronation regalia of British royalty.
Russia was once the main source of amethyst, but near the turn of the twentieth century, new deposits were discovered in South Africa. After that, it became more widely available, but no less treasured. Amethyst comes in a range of sizes. The color selection ranges from palest lilac to rich purple.
Experts consider African amethyst’s royal purple with reddish overtone to be the gem’s finest color.