Historically, amethyst has been the most prized type among quartz. Amethyst was once as sought after amongst royalty as emerald, ruby and sapphire. With modern mining techniques amethyst has become much more readily available and affordable. The color of amethyst is violet purple to purple to reddish purple and anywhere in saturation from very pale to very dark. The most sought after colors for amethyst are strongly reddish purple to purple medium dark to dark with no color zoning. Amethyst gets its color from natural radiation acting upon iron within the stone. Amethyst crystals tend to be darkest at the tip and fade to colorless at the base. Due to its availability and affordability, amethyst is often carved or cut into unique one of a kind pieces. Amethyst is the birthstone for February. Amethyst is expected to “eye clean” meaning no inclusions can be seen in the stone with the naked eye. Amethyst can often occur in large crystals weighing several pounds. Today much of the lighter color amethyst is set in commercial quality production jewelry. Top quality amethyst is set in many designer pieces. Very dark amethyst is sometimes heat treated to improve its color. Heat treatment can also turn amethyst to a yellow color like citrine quartz. Heat treatment can also turn some amethyst to a green color that is very rare in nature. Unfortunately current gemological testing cannot determine if amethyst has been heated to alter its color. The advent of synthetic amethyst in the jewelry industry has dropped the price of amethyst even further. Initially, conventional gemological testing methods were sufficient to separate synthetic amethyst from natural amethyst however with improvements to the processes used to produce synthetic amethyst conventional testing is no longer sufficient to separate the two. More in depth analysis can determine the origin of an amethyst, but compared to the cost of the stone itself it usually isn’t worth it.