QUARTZ (var. AMETHYST)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Amethyst has served as a gemstone since ancient times. Its name stems from the Greek amethystos, meaning “remedy against drunkenness,” alluding to its purported power to prevent inebriation. Important amethyst localities are found in Brazil, Uruguay, Pakistan, Russia, Namibia, and the United States (Arizona, Colorado).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: Amethyst, pronounced AHH-ma-thist, is the transparent, purple, gem variety of macrocrystalline quartz [silicon dioxide, SiO2). It crystallizes in the hexagonal system and occurs mainly in hydrothermal veins, granite pegmatites, and as geode linings as short-to-long, hexagonal, prismatic crystals with a distinctive and diagnostic purple or lilac color that is caused by traces of iron. It has a Mohs hardness of 7.0, excellent transparency, conchoidal fracture, vitreous luster, and specific gravity of 2.65.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: Over the centuries, many cultures have endowed amethyst with supernatural powers that bring good luck, ensure constancy, and protect against homesickness, magical spells, and drunkenness. Amethyst is the most highly valued member of the quartz-gemstone group and is faceted into gems that can weigh 10 or more carats. Massive amethyst or stones of lesser quality are tumbled into beads, fashioned into cabochons, or cut into decorative items.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Amethyst is widely collected for its range of purple-lilac colors, excellent crystal development, and frequent occurrence on large crystal plates and geodes that make eye-catching display pieces.
QUARTZ (var. CITRINE)
HISTORY, NAME, LOCALITIES: Citrine is the yellow-to-golden, gem variety of quartz. Its name stems from the French citron, or “lemon,” alluding to its color. Gem quality citrine is rare. Notable localities are found in Brazil, Norway, Canada, Spain, Madagascar, Russia, and the United States (Maine, New Hampshire, North Carolina, California).
MINERALOGY, PROPERTIES, OCCURRENCE: The physical properties of citrine are the same as those of quartz [silicon dioxide, SiO2], with the exception of its diagnostic yellow-to-golden color, which many mineralogists believe is caused by traces of iron. Citrine crystallizes in the hexagonal system and occurs mainly in hydrothermal veins, granite pegmatites, and as geode linings as short-to-long, horizontally striated, hexagonal, prismatic crystals with pyramidal terminations and excellent transparency. It has a Mohs hardness of 7.0, a conchoidal fracture, vitreous luster, and specific gravity of 2.65.
METAPHYSICAL PROPERTIES, LORE, USES: In ancient times, citrine was thought to protect against snake bites and evil thoughts. It has long been considered a “success” stone that assures success and abundance, especially in business and commerce. Modern metaphysical practitioners believe that citrine replaces negative energy with positive energy, promotes general healing, helps one to adjust to life changes, and promotes feelings of confidence and security. Citrine is a popular gemstone and is faceted into gems.
COLLECTORS’ INFORMATION: Citrine is collected for its rarity, yellow-to-golden color, clean transparency, excellent crystal development, and, in composite specimens, association with such minerals as muscovite and albite.