The common mineral quartz in
one of its rarer forms is known to us as amethyst. It is the only gem
which displays a beautiful violet color. This color is thought to be
caused by organic matter within the crystal, and this theory is
supported by the fact that the amethyst when heated first changes to
yellow and then entirely loses its color.
chief sources of supply of amethysts are now located in Siberia and
Brazil, although a very few stones have occasionally been found in the
State of Maine. The finest stones must have a rich, dark violet color,
while the lighter shades are of much less value. In former times the
amethyst was much more highly valued than at present, owing, no doubt,
to the relative scarcity of the gem at that time. But it must ever
continue to be highly prized for the intrinsic beauty of its violet
The amethyst has with many other gems a long history. Its name is derived from two Greek words, meaning "not to inebriate,"