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Color: pale to deep purple, pale green
Moh's hardness: 7
Amethyst has been in high demand throughout history and is the most valued stone in the Quartz family. Fine amethysts are among the gemstones in the British Crown Jewels, and were also a favorite of Egyptian royalty and Catherine the Great of Russia.
Amethyst ranges in color from pale lilac to deep purple. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.
The most important deposits of amethyst are found in Brazil, Madagascar, Zambia and Uruguay. It is also mined in Myanmar (Burma), Mexico, Canada, Russia, India, Namibia, Sri Lanka and the United States.
The name amethyst is derived from the Greek word "amethystos" and can be translated as "not drunken". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. The gemstone still symbolizes sobriety.
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence. In Tibet amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.