What is Amethyst?
Amethyst, with its fine purple colour, is perhaps the best-known gem variety of macrocrystalline quartz. Due to the abundance of quartz, many quartz gemstones are very affordable. However, amethyst with its attractive colour can be a little more expensive, especially in gemstones that have good clarity and are well cut. The reason for the lovely colour of amethyst is complex, and is due to small amounts of iron in the structure being naturally irradiated from rocks over time forming a 'colour centre'. The best colours are a strongly saturated purple that isn't too dark, and some stones can sometimes show a reddish-purple 'tinge' in places.
Amethyst is the birthstone for February, and it is well known that in the past amethyst was thought to keep the wearer protected from the effects of alcohol. In Medieval times it also had other supposed properties, such as keeping the wearer awake and sharpening wits as well as promoting chastity and preventing diarrhoea.