The most common mineral associated with the word crystal is Clear Quartz. It is the most popular crystal for healing and is very easily obtained, often found in granite deposits or sedimentary rock. It comes in many formations, from large six-sided crystals to tiny clusters of needle-like points. Rose quartz, amethyst, and citrine are all quartz crystals that have been colored by impurities.
Clear quartz is typically used to cleanse and focus energy levels in the body, clearing impurities and psychic debris. In some ancient civilizations it was referred to as "holy ice," incorporated in jewelry, and used in religious rituals in the form of crystal skulls. Quartz increases concentration and refocuses the body, mind, and spirit toward clear goals. The powerful energies of quartz are essential for protecting oneself during astral travel, or out-of-body experiences. It can also be programed to cleanse or amplify specific energy levels, or cleanse other stones of impurities.
Amethyst, a crystal which varies from dark purple to pale lilac, is a form of quartz. The difference between amethyst and other quartz varieties is the oxidation state of impurities in the crystal. Amethysts can be found in geodes or in crystal form. The word amethyst comes from the Greek amethystus which means "not intoxicated." In Greek mythology, the amethyst represents wisdom. During the Middle Ages, it was associated with celibacy and prominent in decoration of churches.
The stone is also associated with the crown chakra, the highest level of enlightenment, and is said to open the third eye to enhance spiritual awareness. Amethyst calms the nervous system and creates a healing effect on ailments such as fibromyalgia, sciatica, headaches, anxiety, depression, and fatigue. Placing an amethyst under the pillow is said to help cure insomnia. Wearing the crystal helps to calm mental stress and ward off negative influences. Amethyst is commonly used in crystal meditation and psychic practices to put oneself in touch with their own inner knowledge. Leonardo da Vinci wrote that amethyst could dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.
(sources: Gems of Wisdom, Gems of Power by Teresa Kennedy; Crystals by Jennie Harding)