Since about 25,000 BCE, civilizations around the world have revered amethyst, the beautiful purple gem that is now celebrated as February’s birthstone.
The word amethyst comes from a word in the Greek language that means, “not intoxicated”. For thousands of years, people have believed this stone held special powers that protected its owner from drunkenness. Since drunken behavior is associated with a muddy mind, high emotions, and clumsy decisions, amethyst is viewed as an antidote, promoting clear thinking, deep contemplation, and emotional stability.
Amethyst mines exist in far-flung places all around the world. The closest mine to us is actually right in front of our eyes in the Four Peaks of the Mazatzal Mountains to the east of Fountain Hills. Spaniards found this deposit in the 18th century where amethyst arrowheads are still sometimes found. They shipped large amounts of it back to their country. Today we know that Four Peaks amethyst gems are found in the crown jewels of five countries.
The Four Peaks Mine is on 23 acres of private land, surrounded by a National Forest. It is located between the two southern-most peaks and can be viewed with binoculars or a telescope in the afternoons. The only way to get there is by a 4.5-mile hike or helicopter.
Cecile Storer and her husband purchased the mine in 1963 and she operated the House of Amethyst store in Fountain Hills for years. She donated the largest known amethyst specimen in North America to the River of Time Museum, weighing an estimated 500 pounds.
In 1994, Kurt Cavano bought the mine. It was then that Sami Jack of Sami Fine Jewelry started working with him and acquired these beautiful stones for her jewelry business. Her store has a big reputation for selling the finest amethyst in all of Arizona.
“The amethyst from this mine rivals Siberian amethyst, which is considered the standard of the gem trade,” says Sami. “When I look at Four Peaks, I think of the famous lyrics, ‘purple mountain majesties’.”
Before the Bush Fire burned it in 2020, Sami’s offered annual tours of the mine. Visitors arrived by helicopter where they had million-dollar views of the Lower Verde River Valley and the entire Valley of the Sun. They also bring miners into the store for events where they talk about this semiprecious stone.
You can learn more about Four Peaks amethyst and the history of the mine at SamiFineJewelry.com.
Visit the store at 16704 E. Avenue of the Fountains #101.