Skip to main content.

Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
Website Search Box
Search Item

Quartz (var. amethyst)

Quartz (var. amethyst) from Madagascar
Photo by Ken Larsen. Click to zoom.
Catalog Number NMNH G10557-00
Locality Madagascar
Weight 9.95 ct

Gift of Mr. Thomas A. Cushman in 2008.

Quartz is one of the most abundant minerals in the Earth’s crust. It is composed of the elements silicon and oxygen and in its pure state is colorless. Small amounts of various impurity atoms can produce a range of colors in quartz. Amethyst, the most valuable gem variety of quartz, is purple. Just a few atoms of iron replacing some of the silicon will cause the purple color. This amethyst gem is an intense vivid purple with red flashes. Most gem amethyst is found in Brazil and Uruguay; however, this amethyst was mined in Madagascar. It is the first amethyst gem from Madagascar in the National Gem Collection.


Landscape mode is not currently supported for this website