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Welcome. Rockgems is one of the world's top suppliers of quality gemstones, natural history material, and geological and scientific mineral specimens. While we are revising our operation, please visit the links listed below, where our friends and associates will be delighted to assist you with purchasing top quality material.

RECOMMENDED METEORITE LINKS
Aerolite Meteorites of Tucson: Meteorites for Sale
American Chopper Meteorite Men Motorcycle
David Weir's Meteorite Studies
Meteorite Times online magazine
Have you found a meteorite?
Meteorite articles on Geology.com
How to buy a meteorite
Oscar E. Monnig Meteorite Gallery
Meteorite.org — Learn about meteorites
Tucson gem and mineral show
METEORITE BOOKS
Rock Star: Adventures of a Meteorite Man
by Geoff Notkin of the award-winning television show Meteorite Men
Meteorite Hunting: How to Find Treasure from Space
SCIENCE ARTICLES
Exclusive photo journal: The Buzzard Coulee Canada Meteorite Expedition
Meteor Crater, Northern Arizona, USA
How much is a meteorite worth? A guide to buying, selling and collecting

A BRIEF HISTORY OF AMETHYST
Amethyst is a violet variety of quartz often used as an ornamental stone in jewelry. The name comes from the Ancient Greek a- ("not") and methustos ("intoxicated"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness; the ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication.

The Greek word "amethystos" may be translated as "not drunken". Amethyst was considered to be a strong antidote against drunkenness, which is why wine goblets were often carved from it. In greek mythology, Dionysus, the god of intoxication, was pursuing a maiden named Amethystos, who refused his affections. Amethystos prayed to the gods to remain chaste, which the goddess Artemis granted and transformed her into a white stone. Humbled by Amethystos' desire to remain chaste, Dionysus poured wine over the stone as an offering, dyeing the crystals purple.

Variations of the story include that Dionysus had been insulted by a mortal and swore to slay the next mortal who crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wrath. The mortal turned out to be a beautiful young woman, Amethystos, who was on her way to pay tribute to Artemis. Her life is spared by Artemis, who transformed the maiden into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears then stained the quartz purple. Another variation involves the goddess Rhea presenting Dionysus with the amethyst stone to preserve the winedrinker's sanity.

Amethyst is the violet variety of quartz; its chemical formula is SiO2.

In the 20th century, the color of amethyst was attributed to the presence of manganese. However, since it is capable of being greatly altered and even discharged by heat, the color was believed by some authorities to be from an organic source. Ferric thiocyanate was suggested, and sulfur was said to have been detected in the mineral. More recent work has shown that amethysts' coloration is due to ferric iron impurities. Further study has shown a complex interplay of iron and aluminum is responsible for the color.

On exposure to heat, amethyst generally becomes yellow, and much of the citrine, cairngorm, or yellow quartz of jewelry is said to be merely "burnt amethyst". Veins of amethystine quartz are apt to lose their color on the exposed outcrop.

Synthetic amethyst is made to imitate the best quality amethyst. Its chemical and physical properties are so similar to that of natural amethyst that it can not be differentiated with absolute certainty without advanced gemological testing (which is often cost-prohibitive). There is one test (which is not 100 percent certain) based on "Brazil law twinning" (a form of quartz twinning where right and left hand quartz structures are combined in a single crystal which can be used to identify synthetic amethyst rather easily. In theory however it is possible to create this material synthetically as well, but this type is not available in large quantities in the market.

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The Rockgems staff
 
 
 
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