Brandberg is a variety of amethyst that comes from the Goboboseb Mountains and not from the Brandberg Mountains as its name suggests. The Brandberg Mountains are about 35 kilometres to the West but with them being more well known, the name is a more appropriate landmark. The Goboboseb Mountains date back approximately one hundred and thirty million years.
Another mineral has grown on this amethyst crystal but I can't say for certain what it is. The amethyst crystal has grown on a basalt matrix. Basalt is a fine grained volcanic rock.
Brandberg amethyst is known for its lustre, clarity and combination of amethyst, clear quartz and smoky quartz within the same crystal. Although colour zoning is relatively common in most amethyst crystals, it's even more common in Brandbergs.
Mining brandberg crystals is not easy because the basalt in which they're embedded is incredibly hard. Due to the region being so remote, most of the mining is carried out by local workers using fairly basic equipment. For this reason crystals still embedded in matrix are quite rare. Loose crystals that can be broken away without too much effort are far more common.
With the right lighting conditions minute crystals sparkle beautifully in the basalt matrix.
To really appreciate these crystals you need to see how much effort goes into mining a single crystal. Head over to our Facebook page and follow the Mindat link for some great photos. Mindat is the largest mineralogical database/reference website online. We use it extensively for research purposes.