JEWELRY EDUCATION > GLOSSARY > Amethyst
Amethyst is a transparent purple variety of quartz and is one of the most highly valued stones in the quartz group. Quartz has a strong framework structure that makes it hard, free from cleavage, and therefore very durable. As late as the sixteenth century, amethysts cost as much as diamonds and were equally valued. Because the stones' beauty and scarcity at the time, it was often set with rubies, sapphires, emeralds and diamonds in almost every ancient European crown, scepter and sword.