Hungary, Spain, France, and Italy. The Carthagenian Spanish amethysts
are of a very beautiful purple-violet colour, very similar to that of
the Oriental, to which, however, they cannot compare in hardness. The
Brazils supply some very valuable, which, when cut, are worth from 1000
to 3000 lire the kilogramme. There are immense lines of them at one
hundred leagues from Bahia, but the difficulty' of extraction and of
transport has rendered them useless hitherto.
amethysts, in their ordinary condition, are very much prized, and it is
easy to know what country they come from, because those from Siberia
often have the points of the crystals mixed with chalcedony ; those
from the Brazils are fragments coming from considerable masses, partly
fibrous and partly crystallized; those from Hungary are under the form
of crystals joined together in a strange manner, whilst the largest are
surrounded by many others much smaller; as to those from Mexico, they
have the points of the crystals perfectly white.
There remains a great number of antique engraved amethysts, and Pliny gives as a reason for this that they are very easily cut: Sculpturis faciles. The
Western stones were preferred, but were generally of a pale colour and
rather inferior quality; and King asserts that an engraving on a dark
stone may be suspected of being modern. Scarabaei, both Egyptian and
Etruscan, in amethyst, are rare. Roman intagli in this. stone, however
abundant, are seldom of good execution.