What Sets Arizona's Amethyst Apart

While amethyst is frequently mined in places around the world such as Uruguay and Brazil, we believe that the most rare and valuable amethyst in the world can be found in Arizona, deep within the Four Peaks mountains. These gorgeous, jaw-dropping peaks are located on the eastern skyline of Phoenix, just east of Fountain Hills. The Mountain was nicknamed after its four large peaks, the tallest reaching 7,659 feet! Read on to discover more about Arizona Amethyst and why many consider it to be the most valuable amethyst in the world.

It has been said that ever since the 1800’s, several Spainiards and Native Americans have ventured in and out of the Four Peaks mine. In fact, plenty of arrowheads have been found near the mine, and have been named and collected as ancient artifacts. While these Natives  may have been the first to find the caves, the mine was first “officially” discovered in the early 1900’s by Jim McDaniel. He first stumbled across the mine while looking for gold, however, he was surprised to find a gemstone much more unique within the mountains...Amethyst! The Four Peaks amethyst claim had been mined off an on with a variety of owners for almost 100 years. Kurt Canavo, a businessman from New Jersey, purchased the Four Peaks Amethyst Mine in 1997. Ever since, Canavo has worked hard to create the best process possible to provide the most stunning amethyst around! Care is taken to preserve the land as much as possible. The mine is nearly completely run by solar power, and rainwater is collected for use - though the amethyst gems may be violet, the mine is truly “Green!” Today, the mine continues to be the only commercially-run amethyst mine in the country, while Sami Fine Jewelry remains the only location specializing in the gemstone throughout the U.S.

There are many reasons why Arizona Amethyst is known to be so rare and special. For one, the mine is in a very hard to reach location. In fact, the mine is completely surrounded by Tonto National Forest and some of the roughest terrain around, making it impossible to get there by car. Today, the only way to reach the mine is by helicopter (or foot...making for an extremely difficult hike)! The miners hike in and spend about a week at the mine per visit. A Helicopter delivers supplies to the miners, and brings down rough amethyst from the mountainside.

Here at Sami Fine Jewelry, we want everyone to get a taste of what the mine has to offer. Almost 10 years ago, our inspiring founder, Sami Jack, had the desire to share the enchanting features and treasures of the mine. Her goal was to spread awareness of the beautiful amethyst Arizona has to offer by establishing a mine tour where customers would be taken to the top of the mountain by helicopter to explore the cave and mine their very own amethyst! After partnering with Canavo, Sami made what seemed to be just a dream an amazing reality! For almost a decade now, hundreds of people have traveled to Arizona to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. After a helicopter delivers the visitors as close to the entrance as possible, they must also climb a small, natural staircase to reach the actual mining area. In fact, the tour has become so popular that in 2013 Phoenix Magazine named our Arizona Amethyst tour #6 on their “Top 100 Bucket List Things to do in Arizona”! While tour dates fluctuate, our store always offers at least two tours yearly, both in the Fall and Spring. Spots tend to fill up quickly, so if this tour sparks your interest, make sure to follow our Facebook and sign up for our newsletter to be the first to find out when spots are open for availability!

After Sami’s retirement, her daughter, Stephenie Bjorkman, made the commitment to follow her mother’s lead. Since becoming the owner of the store in 2013, she has pushed her mother’s vision even further by creating custom designs, adding advanced ideas to the line, producing new collections, and making amethyst even more accessible to the public. As a second generation jeweler, she has put her expertise and experience together to help Sami Fine Jewelry become a local favorite, making her mother more than proud.

It’s clear to see that mining Arizona Amethyst and caring for the land that creates it is a labor of love. Everyone, from the mine owner, to the staff here at Sami’s, to the clients who love the gems are involved in the process of curating this treasure. We love supporting this local beauty, and working with gems that have a history that’s important to us. When you buy Arizona Amethyst, you’re not just making a purchase, you become part of the family!