Amethyst

Amethyst in Austria, Europe

Until the 18th century, Amethyst was held in just as high regard as the likes of Ruby, Diamond and Emerald in the world of gemstones. It was desired by kings and queens in the most esteemed societies in the world. Mining of the gemstone was already underway in many countries, from Brazil to Madagascar and Tibet to Namibia, so you can only imagine the excitement when a huge Amethyst vein was accidentally discovered in Austria in the mid-19th century.

Quarry workers happened upon the deposit during a routine job on the Maissauer Höhe in 1845 and, thus, Austria's place on the Amethyst map of the world was secured. In celebration of this incredible deep purple stone, we're taking a look at the story behind Amethyst in Austria here at Monica Vinader:

The history and locations of Amethyst in Austria, Europe

Despite the 1845 discovery of the huge Amethyst vein, scientific excavation in the Lower Austria region didn't begin until the late 20th century. Since then, though, the beautiful gemstone has gone on to become one of the country's main exports to the rest of the world. It can be found in a number of locations around the country, including a cluster of mines in the southwest of Austria in the Central Eastern Alps.

Maissau, Lower Austria

The largest open-pit mine in the world for the extraction of Amethyst is located in Maissau in Lower Austria, the most northeastern state of the country. The love and pride for the gemstone is so great in this region that there is a specialist museum called 'Amethyst World' there for all the family to enjoy.

The museum, amusement and adventure park is tailored as much to children as it is to gemstone enthusiasts, so it attracts thousands of visitors every year to admire the unique Amethyst in all of its natural glory. One of the main attractions - as the only place in the world you can do this without permits - is the ability to see real crystals in situ at lengths of up to 15cm. The added advantage of the museum experience is that you have access to gemstone experts who will talk you through the process of cutting Amethyst stones from the rough and turning them into some of the most eye-catching jewellery in the world.

Hohe Tauern, Central Eastern Alps

The High Tauern mountains are part of the Central Eastern Alps and comprise some of the highest peaks east of the Brenner Pass. This means that, due to the sheer power of the geological activity, there are quartz stones like Amethyst in abundance there.

A significant number of mining locations have been found over the centuries on and around Grossglockner, the highest peak in Austria at 12,460 feet, so it has become one of the most geologically significant sites on the planet. Amethyst is, in fact, found all over Austria's mountainous terrain and many of the country's deposits are shared with Italy to the south and Germany to the north.

Where else is Amethyst sourced?

The Amethyst deposits in Italy and Germany aren't quite as abundant as they are in Austria, but these kinds of cross-border deposits of the deep purple gemstone aren't unique to this area either.

One of the other globally significant sites for the extraction of Amethyst is located across the border between Brazil and Uruguay in South America. The discovery of these sizeable deposits was exactly what made Amethyst much more accessible and affordable to the rest of the world because, as we mentioned earlier, it was previously deemed to be rare and, therefore, just as valuable as the likes of Diamond until the 18th century.

Amethyst continues to catch eyes and ease minds for people all over the world, so it's one of our favourites here at Monica Vinader.

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