Amethyst is a variety of quartz (quartz crystal) and is part of the quartz family of minerals. It is known for its distinctive mauve-purple color, which can range from light to darker shades.

Detailed description of amethyst:

1. Colour: Amethyst's colour is the result of the presence of iron and aluminium ions in the crystal structure of quartz. The characteristic hue of amethyst can vary from a pale purple to a deep violet, and the intensity of the colour depends on the amount of impurities and exposure to natural radiation.

2. Transparency: Amethyst can vary in transparency from translucent to transparent. Crystals with increased transparency are often valued more in jewellery.

3. Hardness: It has a fairly high hardness, being rated at 7 on the Mohs scale. This means that it is fairly scratch resistant, making it suitable for processing into jewelry.

4. Scratches and Fractures: Amethyst's striations are parallel to the direction of crystalline growth. Fractures can occur naturally in amethyst crystals, but in general its presentation is quite compact.

5. Luster: The surface of amethyst can have a glassy luster, and in finely processed jewelry, it can also have a vitreous or matte appearance.

6. Origin: Amethyst is found in various places around the world, including Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, India, Korea, South Africa and the United States. The largest amethyst deposits are often associated with geological crystallization formations such as geodes.

7. Use: Amethyst is commonly used in jewellery, gemstones and decorative objects. It is often cut as a cabochon or polished into various shapes to be incorporated into jewelry.

8. Spiritual significance: Amethyst is often associated with spiritual and protective qualities. It is believed to have calming properties and can be used in meditation.

9. Care: Although quite hard, amethyst can be sensitive to exposure to intense sunlight, which could lead to discoloration. It is recommended to avoid prolonged exposure to the sun and to clean amethyst jewellery carefully to prevent scratches.

In general, amethyst remains one of the most prized gemstones because of its beautiful colour and variety of uses in the world of jewellery and semi-precious stones.