Amethyst

Amethyst in Uruguay, South America

Uruguay is a country rich in high-quality gemstones that are sought after by collectors all over the globe. When you see the quality of its Amethyst, you'll know why. The stunning semi-precious gemstone occurs in the geodes that were formed during historic volcanic eruptions, so they are often millions of years old. Some say that the Amethyst stones unearthed in Uruguay are amongst the finest in the world - it is hard to argue with that when you consider the depth of colour they produce.

As one of the most important geological sites on the planet, Uruguay is a place of great interest to students, professionals and general jewellery enthusiasts everywhere, so many mines remain in production to this day. We're taking a look at the history of this magnificent country and its plentiful supplies of the most beautiful gemstones of the world.

The history and locations of Amethyst in Uruguay, South America

Amethyst is so prevalent in Uruguay that many of the country's citizens have for years held it in an almost spiritual regard. It is an awe-inspiring gemstone even in its natural state, so Uruguayans have admired it and, indeed, shared its beauty with the world for centuries. The Uruguayan variety of this quartz stone is renowned for the evenness and deepness of its colour, so it has genuinely global appeal. In fact, the largest Amethyst geode ever discovered came from a Uruguayan mine and is on display in a museum in Queensland, Australia - the 'Empress of Uruguay' stands at 11 feet tall and weighs as much as a car.

It is possible to search for Amethyst gemstones in Uruguay, but a state permit and proof of specialist qualifications are required so it is generally reserved to those who dedicate their lives to the study of such stones. Geodes of incredible quality are still unearthed in the quarries, or 'canteras', of Uruguay to this day and they often contain Amethyst gemstones with eye-poppingly deep violet shades. This is precisely why collectors from all around the world visit the South American country in search of the highest quality Amethyst stones to take home with them. Let's take a look at some of the most significant regions of Uruguay for the mining and distribution of Amethyst...

Artigas

Located in the north of the country on the border with Brazil, the city of Artigas is a world-renowned place for the mining and distribution of high-quality Amethyst gemstones. The aforementioned 'Empress of Uruguay' hails from there. The border is shared with Brazil's state of Rio Grande do Sul, which together make one of the most productive regions of the world when it comes to Amethyst gemstones (Agate is just as common, too).

The quality of the Amethyst mined there is so high that it leads many people who see it first-hand for the first time to exclaim that it can't be real, such is the purity of the crystals. Interestingly, the crystals themselves can grow up to 30cm in length - albeit the longer ones are much rarer - so it is a fascinating feat of nature to have such a large geode of perfectly formed crystals discovered in a place like Artigas.

Where else is Amethyst sourced?

Amethyst's popularity in South American countries like Uruguay and Brazil is indicative of its status as a true gemstone of the world, since this enthusiasm is shared with many countries. The beautiful semi-precious gemstone can be found in far-flung countries like Tibet, South Korea, India and Austria, so it is certainly not confined to one location.

In fact, as a quartz stone, it is part of the largest family of minerals on the planet, so it's no surprise to see it peppered throughout the planet's volcanic rock in many different shades of violet.

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