The Mexican Mountain Town Feeding the International Crystal Market

Many people in Piedra Parada mine amethysts for sale to visitors and dealers.
In Piedra Parada, amethysts are everywhere.

My latest for Atlas Obscura explores the crystal trade going on in Piedra Parada, a tiny mountain town in Veracruz, Mexico. The local men have been mining amethyst from the surrounding mountains, a beautiful gem that is known around the world for its purple hues. The men face dangerous conditions and the occasional rip-off from unscrupulous international brokers but are proud of the economy they’ve created to help their family and communities. I was fortunate enough to visit this town and its mines a few times and learn about this process and the history of the region, as well as the various metaphysical uses of Veracruz amethyst.

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