Amethysts are also particularly sensitive to heat, which can alter their color. Heating amethyst typically removes some of the brown or rust color (due to the presence of iron), so the finished birth stone becomes a prettier purple. Heating may also cause amethyst to turn from purple to yellow or even pale green.
Where Does Amethyst Come From?
Russia used to be the sole source of amethysts up until the 1800s. During this time, amethysts were considered quite rare and very expensive.
However, when a huge amethyst deposit was discovered by miners in Brazil, high-quality amethysts flooded the market and lowered its price.
Brazil is still the amethyst capital of the world. But amethyst gems are now also mined in:
Zambia. This African country is one of the largest global amethyst producers. Estimates show Zambia mines average 1,000 tons of amethyst every year.
Bolivia. This South American country is famous for producing the rare and stunning bi-color variety of amethyst called ametrine. It occurs when yellow quartz (citrine) and purple quartz (amethyst) form together in the same crystal.
Canada. The largest amethyst mine in North America is located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada.
The United States. Several amethyst mines exist all across the US in states such as Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, South Carolina, Maine, Minnesota, and Michigan.
Amethyst gems are also mined in France, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Morocco, Myanmar, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, and Uruguay.
Despite their abundant natural occurrence, lab-created amethyst stone has been around since the 1970s. These synthetic gems share the same chemical and physical properties as natural amethyst gems, making it difficult to tell them apart without gemological testing.
Is Amethyst Right for You?
February's birthstone ticks most boxes for jewelry lovers and gifters: it's gorgeous, affordable, and durable.
Amethyst gems rank a 7 out of 10 on the Mohs Scale of Hardness, which measures gemstone durability and how easily stones may get scratched or damaged during everyday wear. To put this in perspective, amethyst is more durable than pearl (a 2 on the Mohs Scale) but not as scratch-resistant as a ruby (9) or a diamond (which clocks in at a 10).
This gives you plenty of options for unique amethyst jewelry sure to be cherished forever. An amethyst birthstone ring or engagement ring will hold up just as well as an amethyst necklace.