Amethyst is an extremely sought-after gem which has been valued by many civilizations since antiquity. A variety of vitreous quartz, amethyst often forms dramatic prismatic crystals which are often formed into jewelry without being cut. Brazil and Uruguay are common sources of high quality amethyst. In the early Christian church, amethyst was believed to guard against intoxication, hence its derivation from the Greek "amethustos," meaning "not drunk."
The relatively abundant mineral smoky quartz ranges in color from almost black to nearly colorless. Gem quality specimens are mined from the Swiss Alps and from Pike's Peak in Colorado. Dark smoky quartz is sometimes heat-treated to give it a lighter color which appears more brilliant when cut.
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