Amethyst was once considered to be as valuable as Ruby and Emerald; it regularly adorned jewellery worn by Royalty and religious figures.
The Ancient Greeks believed wearing them would guard against drunkenness (if only!) and it was popular with the Egyptians as a stone for carving intaglios.
Significant sources include Brazil, Russia, Uruguay and Zambia. It frequently occurs in large sizes and crystals can weigh hundreds sometimes thousands of carats.
Description: The best known and best loved member of the Quartz family, Amethysts vary in colour from the palest blush mauve to the deepest regal purple. They are found in Brazil amongst other places.
Hardness: 7 on Mohs Scale
Aquamarine is often heated to intensify the colour and remove green tones, resulting in the strong blue coloured stones most often seen in jewellery.
The colour is caused by tiny amounts of iron present in the crystals and large clean stones are not uncommon. Legend has it that Aquamarine (which means seawater in Latin) was the treasure of Mermaids and that might just be right! On land it can be found in countries such as Mozambique, Madagascar and Zambia.
Description: Aquamarine is the blue-green variety of the Beryl family and is found naturally in a range of shades varying from pale bluish-green through to a strong sky blue. It can be found in Brazil amongst other places.
Hardness: 7.5 - 8 on Mohs Scale