Amethyst is one of the most precious and valuable stones belonging to the quartz group of minerals. It is recognized as the official birthstone for the month of February. Amethyst belongs to the macrocrystalline branch of quartz and owes its violet/purple color to iron and aluminum impurities.
Since purple is considered to be one of the royal colors, amethyst has a historical importance as an insignia of power. Fine amethysts are featured in the British Crown Jewels and they were also a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty. Amethyst also holds a high place in the ranks of the Christian church and was referred to as "the stone of bishops". The Greek word "amethystos" translates into "not drunken" and it was often worn as an amulet to protect against intoxication.
Since amethyst was considered an antidote against drunkenness, many wine goblets were carved from amethyst stone. Still to this day, violet-purple amethyst is a symbol of sobriety.
The most important amethyst deposits are in Brazil, namely the "Palmeira" amethysts of Rio Grande do Sul and the "Maraba" amethysts of Para. Other significant amethyst deposits are located in Bolivia, Canada, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka, United States (Arizona), Uruguay and Zambia.