Where is Amethyst Found?

Most of us are familiar with the amethyst gemstone but where is amethyst found in the world?  Amethyst is quite common and is found on all continents, with the larger deposits currently being mined in South America, Africa and North America.  The largest global producer is Brazil with an annual production of around two to three thousand tons followed by Zambia producing about a thousand tons per year.

Amethyst Phantom Crystal on Matrix - Namibia
Amethyst Phantom Crystal on Matrix – Namibia

Amethyst is a type of quartz, one of the most common minerals on earth.  Chemical processes and the presence of iron and manganese in the quartz gives amethyst its purple color, varying from pale lilac through lavender and mauve to deep violet. Amethyst crystals are hexagonal in structure made up of 6-sided prisms ending in 6-sided pyramids.

There are many varieties of amethyst differing in color or crystal formation, and usually named after the location they are found. Even within one country or region there can be a number of amethyst deposits, each producing crystals with their own unique properties.  Some of the more well-known deposits and interesting varieties are listed below.

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Africa

Zambia, Madagascar, Namibia, and South Africa

Amethyst Cactus Quartz from South Africa
Amethyst Cactus Quartz from South Africa

Often referred to as African Amethyst – the varieties found in Africa have smaller crystals and are richer in color with the highest production coming from Zambia. A unique variety called Cactus Quartz, which has a layer of smaller spiky crystals covering the main crystals, is only found in South Africa. Amethyst found in Namibia displays zones of color often interspersed with white quartz resulting in chevron type patterns.

Australia

Amethyst is found in small quantities in Australia and the crystals are small with dark coloring.

Asia

Russia, South Korea , India and Sri-Lanka

Two well-known high grade variants came from Russia – Deep Russian and Deep Siberian which have deep purple hues.  These are some of the oldest known deposits and are now mostly depleted, but these terms are still used to describe high grade amethysts in the jewelry trade.

Bänderamethyst Ader - largest opencast amethyst vein in the world
Bänderamethyst Ader – largest opencast amethyst vein in the world

Europe

Hungary, Austria, Germany and Italy

Hungary produces a lilac coloured amethyst drusy. A drusy is the geological term to describe formations of hundreds of tiny crystals coating the surface of a rock. Austria has the largest opencast amethyst vein in the world near Maissau and has built a museum park to showcase the mine.

North America

USA, Canada and Mexico

Amethyst is mined in the American states of Arizona, North Carolina, Georgia, and Maine and it is the official state gemstone of South Carolina.  There is an amethyst collection from USA and elsewhere at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural HistoryCanadian Amethyst has unique red hematite mineral inclusions and the largest mine in North America is Thunder Bay, Ontario.  Veracruse amethyst comes from Mexico and has a tall prismatic formation.

Minerals.Net has excellent images of all the different types of Amethysts
Minerals.Net has excellent images of all the different types of Amethysts

South America

Brazil and Uruguay

One of the largest amethyst deposits in the world were discovered in the 19th century in Brazil which subsequently caused amethyst to lose its status as one of the most valuable gemstones, and today Brazil is still the largest global producer.  Many amethyst deposits in Brazil and Uruguay are in geode formations. These are hollow rocks, formed originally from bubbles in a volcanic event, filled with crystals.

References and Further Info

 

Filter by Country on Minfind.Com to see example Amethysts from different regions
Filter by Country on Minfind.Com to see example Amethysts from different regions


Isn’t this so interesting? I never realized amethyst came in so many different forms and colors! Feel free to leave a comment about what fascinates you about gemstones. *Mandy

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8 thoughts on “Where is Amethyst Found?

  1. Mary

    Those are some beautiful pictures of Amethyst. Amethyst is my birthstone and I wear a ring with amethyst in it that I got for my 16th birthday, that was a long time ago lol I absolutely love it! I learned a thing or 3 of the origins, quite fascinating really. Thanks for sharing!

    • Mandy

      Its a pleasure Mary, it was very interesting doing the research 🙂

  2. Johan Myers

    I discovered a bunch of those amethyst gemstone recently in my cellar and had no idea what it was until now. Great informative article by the way!!

    • Mandy

      Thanks Johan, glad you found it helpful.

  3. I love Amethyst but didn’t know where it came from, never thought to try and find out! The cactus quartz is very pretty, I love the combination of the small spiky crystals and the larger main ones. Good article, I enjoyed reading it. 🙂

    • Mandy

      Thanks Kathy, yes I was amazed at all the different forms, some are really exquisite!

  4. Sarah

    Hey! I love your website and am definitely bookmarking it! I love gemstones, they’re one of my passions. I have a lot of stones at home, can’t help it… everytime I see a gemstones store or a merchant at a market I have to buy something!
    My personal favorite stone is well… amethyst 😉 the stone of the wise and energy. I also love aquamarine and jade.
    I will check your website regularly!
    cheers =)
    Sarah

    • Mandy

      Thank you Sarah, I have found that some places have no idea where the stones they sell come from!

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