Wondering where pink amethyst comes from?
True pink amethyst comes only from the Patagonia area, in Argentina, where it was discovered around 2017. The biggest pink amethyst mine in this area is called El Chiquada, where pink amethyst is found in gypsum or marl beds.
But amethyst that’s a lavender pink color is also found in Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, and the US. These amethysts are often marketed and sold as “pink amethyst”, though they aren’t the true pink amethysts from Argentina.
In this blog post, you’ll discover:
- How pink amethyst formed
- How pink amethyst is mined
- Patagonia’s link to abundant crytals
- Other names for pink amethyst
- More about the amazing Patagonia region
What causes pink amethyst
Pink amethyst is a natural quartz stone.
So how was it created?
It’s believed that there were powerful volcanic eruptions and a lot of hot liquid on and in the ground in the Patagonia region millions of years ago.
All this heat, liquid, and volcanic materials created the perfect conditions for pink amethyst crystal to form.
Iron was activated by natural radiation to make amethyst, and tiny hematite particles were there to turn the amethyst pink. This is what makes pink amethyst (click here for a guide to this precious crystal).
Over time, pink amethyst grew in spaces in local rocks, until the crystal was finally discovered by miners in the early 2000s, when they were looking for different types of quartz in the area.
News of the discovery spread quickly, and soon gemstone enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world were buzzing with excitement about this rare find.
How pink amethyst is mined
There is very little information available on how pink amethyst is mined in Argentina. Mining practices vary depending on many factors, including the size and scale of the operation, local regulations and laws, environmental considerations, and safety measures. Also, mining practices can change over time.
Based on conventional amethyst mining processes and photos of mining activities in Patagonia, it is expected that pink amethyst is mined by hand in Argentina as follows:
Geologists or miners prospect for amethyst deposits by examining geological maps, studying the local geology, and looking for signs of amethyst-bearing rocks, such as quartz veins or geodes.
Once a potential deposit is identified, further exploration may involve digging test pits or trenches to assess the quality and quantity of amethyst present.
If a viable amethyst deposit is found, the miners may stake a claim to secure the right to mine the area.
This typically involves marking the boundaries of the claim and registering it with the appropriate government authorities.
Access and preparation
Access to the amethyst deposit is established, and the site is prepared for mining.
This may involve clearing vegetation, removing overburden (unwanted rock or soil), and setting up basic infrastructure such as roads, campsites, and safety measures.
In small-scale, hand-mining operations, miners may use simple tools such as picks, shovels, and hand-held drills to extract amethyst from the rock or soil.
They may also use manual techniques to remove any surrounding rock or matrix to reveal the amethyst crystals. Care is taken to avoid damaging the crystals during extraction.
Sorting and grading
Once the amethyst is extracted, it is sorted and graded based on its quality, size, and color. This may be done on-site or at a nearby processing facility.
Miners may use their expertise and experience to assess the value of the amethyst, and sometimes use specialized tools such as magnifying lenses or ultraviolet lights to help with identification.
Transport and sale
After sorting and grading, the mined amethyst is typically transported to marketplaces or processing facilities.
This may involve packing the amethyst in containers or sacks for transportation.
The amethyst may be sold to local buyers, gemstone dealers, or exported to other countries for further processing and sale.
Patagonia and its abundant crystals
While Patagonia is well known for its natural beauty and major mineral reserves, such as coal and gold, it isn’t widely recognized for its abundance of crystals. This is strange as there are many crystals found in the region too.
Here are some crystals that are mined in Patagonia:
Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz and is one of the most popular and widely recognized crystals.
It is found in various locations in Patagonia, particularly in the Rio Negro and Neuquen provinces of Argentina.
Amethyst from Patagonia is known for its deep purple color, and often occurs in geodes or as druzy crusts lining cavities in volcanic rocks.
Rhodochrosite is a beautiful pink to red mineral that is the national gemstone of Argentina.
It is found in limited quantities in Patagonia, particularly in the Catamarca and Chubut provinces.
Rhodochrosite from Patagonia is known for its distinctive banded or swirling patterns of pink and white, often forming eye-catching specimens.
Calcite is a common mineral that comes in various colors and forms, and it can be found in some areas of Patagonia.
In particular, the marble deposits in the region of El Calafate, in Santa Cruz province, are known to contain calcite crystals.
These calcite crystals may include a range of colors, including white, pink, yellow, and green.
Agate is a type of chalcedony, which is a microcrystalline form of quartz, known for its banded appearance.
Agates come in different colors and patterns, and they are sometimes found in Patagonia.
Agate nodules or geodes, which are rounded or hollow rocks with crystalline interiors, are usually found in riverbeds or volcanic rocks.
Other names for pink amethyst
The name for true pink amethyst from Patagonia is simply “pink amethyst”. But sometimes amethyst that looks pink is called “rose amethyst”.
Rose amethyst comes from Brazil and is pale pink or lavender in color.
More about Patagonia
Patagonia is a vast and remote region in the southernmost parts of South America, spanning across Argentina and Chile. It’s known for its rocky landscapes, wilderness, and natural beauty, making it a popular destination for tourists and nature enthusiasts.
Patagonia is also known for its major mineral resources, and many minerals such as coal, gold, silver, copper, and others are mined here.
With all these mining activities taking place and concerns for the environment, regulations and environmental standards are in place to minimise the potential impacts of mining in Patagonia.