This Madagascan Amethyst from Ambatondrazaka is an attractive specimen with glassy lustre, intricately stepped surfaces, attractive lavender purple colouration and a floater formation. Amethyst from the Ambatondrazaka area of Madagascar is top quality and on par with those from the famed Brandberg locale.
About Amethyst & Quartz
Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz, coloured so by iron impurities or natural radiation exposure. It is formed in silica-rich liquids deposited in gas cavities of lava that occur in crystalline masses and is often found in geodes.
Quartz is the most common mineral found on the surface of the Earth, occurring in virtually every locality. Pure crystals are colourless, transparent and hard, though many are coloured by natural processes such as irradiation or by the presence of certain elements within them. These coloured varieties include the popular gemstones amethyst, purple quartz, and citrine, yellow quartz. Some quartz crystals have unique inclusions of minerals that have grown within them, such as golden rutile, tourmaline or chlorite, and others may show silvery reflective internal veils and bright rainbows. Whilst the majority of quartz is created from molten magma that has cooled and crystallised, much quartz also chemically precipitates from hot hydrothermal veins. Well-formed crystals deep within the Earth can reach colossal sizes, with some measuring several meters in length and weighing hundreds of kilograms.
Amethyst in History
Amethysts use in jewellery can be traced back as far as the Neolothic period – approximately 4000BC – and samples of this gem set into gold rings have been uncovered from burial sites dating back to 2400BC. The name 'amethyst' derives from the Greek 'Amethystos', meaning 'non to intoxicate', as it was believed to prevent drunkenness. In ancient Greece, wealthy lords who wished to stay sober in social events were said to have drinking glasses carved from amethyst so that the dark purple hue of the gem would disguise the colour of water and make it appear to be wine. Similarly, it was also believed then that to save a drunkard from delirium you could mix crushed amethyst into their drink.
In a legend from Greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, pronounced his love to a beautiful you maiden named Amethystos who refused his advances. Enraged at her refusal, Dionysus let loose ferocious tigers upon her as she set out to pray to the goddess Diana. Before they could reach her, Diana transformed Amethystos into a statue of pure quartz so that the tigers could not harm her. Horrified and regretful at his attempt to hurt her, Dionysus wept tears of wine over the statue she had become, staining the clear quartz purple, thus creating the gem amethyst.
The deep purple colour in some amethyst specimens may slowly fade if in prolonged exposure to direct sunlight, and whilst this change is very gradual, it is recommended to keep it out of sunlight if you wish it to retain its colours for years to come. Care for your crystals well, and these natural treasures can last a lifetime (and more)!