Amethysts belong to the quartz family. Quartz comprise two varieties of minerals – translucent to transparent stones (microcrystalline) and opaque stones (cryptocrystalline). Amethysts fall into the first category while chalcedony (agates and jaspers) falls into the other. Amethysts range in colour from a deep purple through to a pale lilac, all gorgeous colours which explains why they are popular gemstones and have been for centuries. Amethysts with a deep purple colour are described as Siberian amethysts as the Ural Mountains was a historic source of fine amethysts.
Amethysts partner well with the yellow citrine, also a member of the quartz family. You can see this pairing in the photo of the Victorian bracelet at the top of this post and in the Georgian pendant below.
Amethyst historically was not readily available and was prized. But the discoveries of gemstones in Brazil in the early 19th century resulted in a plentiful supply. Today, amethysts are mined in many locations apart from Brazil. Citrine is less common and much of the citrine that we see today is in fact Brazilian amethyst that has been heated to turn it yellow.
Such a beautiful stone.