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Posted by Kristi Huggins
Alfredo Petrov July 10, 2006 08:42PMDiscussions of "green amethyst" and "black amethyst" fit better into the Marketing Ploys messageboard! Amethyst is, by definition, violet quartz, so any other color of quartz can't be amethyst. Black quartz has historically been called "morion", "cairngorm", or just plain old "smoky quartz" - It's hard to see what special property might merit taking one of these and changing its name to "black amethyst", other than that some marketing expert thought the name "black amethyst" sounded more easily saleable. (Just like calling red beryl "red emerald".)
As for the geological info regarding black quartz, it is typically found in granitic pegmatites, or veins in granitic regions, where quartz has been subjected to very long periods of accumulating damage from radiation emitted by the traces of radioactive minerals that are nearly always present in granitic environments. (Note that the black quartz itself does not become radioactive, and that it is completely harmless, unless, 1) you grind it up and snort it; or, 2) you chip an arrowhead out of it and shoot it into your foot :-))
Justin Zzyzx July 11, 2006 09:08AMYou know, quite a few people call very DARK amethyst "Black" Amethyst. Look at the typical DARK Amethyst crystals from India. They are indeed Amethyst crystals, as the thin slices of these crystals reveals. But they are indeed so deep violet that they look black.
Sometimes people are just trying to use color as a descriptive term. Much the same as "Green" Amethyst and the like. It's easy to see how a descriptive color added to the front of a mineral name, such as Amethyst, might make someone else think the two names are attached. How about the popular Amethyst clusters colored red by inclusions of Hematite? Orange River South Africa and the deposits in Ontario. Are these not "Red" Amethyst? Does the Amethyst stop being Amethyst simply because it is another color?
My two cents,
Kootenay July 11, 2006 10:41AMThe amethyst from the region around Thunder Bay is hardly "red amethyst". It is violet colored quartz. The "red" iron oxide inclusions are usually segregated to localized areas (in the hundreds of specimens I collected, usually the outer 1 to 2 mm of the xls). The quartz itself is still violet colored and the "red" coloration is not an intrinsic property of the quartz.
"Sometimes people are just trying to use color as a descriptive term": more likely another shyster dealer trying to make garbage look sexy in the hopes of fleecing another unsuspecting sucker of some cash.
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. July 11, 2006 12:24PMSee the latest species posting for "ParaÃba Tourmaline". There is a group of gemological laboratories that formally assigns commercial names to gem materials and defines exactly what constitutes each by issuing "Information Sheets". This is done to standardize the usage of the names by all the laboratories in their identification and appraisal of gemstones. If it isn't a name approved by this group, it could be anything from anywhere that has been dyed, heat treated, irradiated, coated or run through the digestive system of a cow! BUYER BEWARE!!
Justin Zzyzx July 11, 2006 04:31PMIf using a color as an adjective for a mineral is outlawed, only outlaws will use color as an adjective for a mineral.
"more likely another shyster dealer trying to make garbage look sexy in the hopes of fleecing another unsuspecting sucker of some cash."
If this above statement was true than there would be a pool in my backyard and a hummer in my driveway. But I don't have a backyard or a driveway. Hmmmm...I just peeked over on eBay and I see exactly 1 auction when I punch in "Black Amethyst". Go see for yourself...looks like they are just SHOVELING in the cash!
No, it sounds a LOT more like someone describing the additional color(s) attributed to An otherwise PURPLE QUARTZ crystal. See, you just made me use the word Purple...it's not even a color for cryin out loud!
I care very, very, deeply about people being informed about Fakes and Forgeries. I wrote a webpage about it a few years ago and it is one of the most accessed pages on my site. But I'm certainly not going to tell someone that someone is defrauding anyone by calling VERY VERY dark Amethyst "Black" Amethyst or Amethyst that has red coloring on it "Red" Amethyst. While TECHNICALLY there is no such valid mineral name for "Black Amethyst", I think that there are lots of deposits of VIOLET colored crystals that are SO deep in color that they could be called, as for no other reason as to describe them, "Black Amethyst". It is Amethyst, and it looks black.
Searching for "Black Amethyst" on google and scanning the first 4 pages, there were only a HANDFUL of METAPHYSICAL dealers and the "Black Amethyst" they were refering to was Amethyst from Hydrabad India...Have you ever seen this ugly, ugly, Amethyst? They are so dark it doesn't even look violet. But if you cut them into thin sections you can see the lovely dark purple color (sometimes Blue and Red, intermixed, even though these are both shades of Violet, as my lovely wife has pointed out to me...).
And for that matter, how about that ugly "Onegite" stuff? Amethyst included with Goethite so that it is almost black in color. Is that not Amethyst anymore because it is not directly violet in color? Should it not be labeled as Quartz Var. Amethyst with Goethite inclusions?
I have a quartz scepter that is violet, red, black and yellow. The yellow is an iron staining, the black is Hematite, the red is Hematite and the purple color was caused by iron. Can I not label it Quartz Var. Amethyst w/ Hematite inclusions and iron staining?
Chester S. Lemanski, Jr. July 12, 2006 01:38AMAnyone can call anything whatever they choose at any time. Much of such nomenclature assignments are done quite innocently by persons without a formal geoscience degree or GIA certification, some are not. The problem is that some of it is done with the intent to defraud. Perhaps there are not many vendors of "black amethyst" but there are vendors out there raking in some big bucks selling some of these "etherial treasures," as documented elsewhere in this forum. Public discussion of the problem of informal, misleading and exploitative commercial names and the targeting of the unknowing victims is necessary to alert the public of the schemes. If they still choose to buy - it's their business.
michael koeppl February 03, 2007 10:16PMWhat I think is lacking is a complete understanding of how gemstones and minerals are colored. In essence gemstones are minerals that achieve coloration from impurities. Take a ruby for instance, which is the mineral corundum with the added impurity of chromium, where the visible photon is excited directly by the impurity causing the wonderful coloration of red appearing in a ruby. Amethyst much like ruby achieves itâ€™s coloration from an impurity, although instead of the visible photon being excited directly by the impurity the visible photon in amethyst is excited by an unstable species commonly called a color center which results from the unstable species caused by iron impurity absorbing the visible photon causing an excited state and hence coloration.
With this basic understanding of how gemstones and crystals are colored (there is a lot more detail) could it not be said that the exact scientific terminology of gemstones are as follows;
Red Ruby = corundum with chromium impurities
Blue Sapphire = corundum with titanium and iron impurities
Pink Tourmaline = tourmaline with magnese impurity
Amethyst = quartz with iron impurities
Black Amethyst = Quartz with nickel and iron impurities
Yellow topaz = topaz with iron impurities
Budgie May 04, 2007 04:06AMIf any of you interested in this, would care to come and visit here. I will take you to an area I've quietly picked over every spring, when the frost thaws force rocks to the surface. Pickings are lean, no promises.
Probably two decades ago, in a new subdivision, I found a small vein of amethyst, in granite and followed it to where it crossed a new graded road.
Lying on and in the new road surface were pieces of black rock which on closer examination turned out to be black coloured crystals smashed by the grader out of a double vug cavity. This I surmise, as on one specimen the crystals were growing on opposite sides.
The crystal are up to 1 1/2 inches high and the under lying surface is/are pure black vein ribbons in the granite matrix.
I'm not going to get into any sematic arguement as to whether or not it is black amethyst or morion.
It sure as heck is not smokey quartz as it is a deep rich black and light does not penitrate though it.
And truthfully guys and girls, it does not look anything like any morion I've ever seen in specimens.
It was in an amethyst vein (that was a normal light purple) and it was black.
Pure rich shiny Black Amethyst. Not purple not a darn bit purple - black by anyones standard.
Which I quess by someones definition is morion but it will always be Black Amethyst to me.
Best to all you wonderful rock lovers.
Contact me for pictures if you wish, I can't be bothered tonight to dig em out of another computer.
Feldwebel Wolfenstool December 14, 2008 01:15PMAll this talk of "red" amethyst and "black" amethyst and "super-7 healing stone cacoxenite gold silver platinum", has been started by a couple of uninformed mineral dealers from S. Ontario, who don't know anything about minerals other than they are worth money. Black is smokey. The red stuff is pale qtz with a hematite coating. These guys have been banned by most of the locals, they were caught stealing from us. The father and stepson that started all this, are scambags.
Alysson Rowan December 14, 2008 04:37PMI was handed a Black Amethyst a few years ago - I thought it was a crystal of smoky quartz at first, but it actually was actually violet with a distinct smoke in there too. I assume that the black was inclusions of some other mineral, but I don't have any idea what.
The owner had bought the specimen at a house clearance and wondered whether I thought it was natural. I have no idea, but I might guess at it being an unusual amethyst that blackened under radiation treatment.
Just my ha'penneth.
When you invited me to see your etchings, I didn't expect to
see so much degraded quartz. Really.
GEOLOGIST Robert December 18, 2008 02:48AMAll you saying black amethyst isn't amethyst, do not know what you're talking about.
As a professor of Geology,
Black Amethyst is actual Amethyst, with some hematite inclusions, which give the amethyst a black tint, but when looked at through light, you can actually just see that it is violet.
Don't give an opinion when you just don't know.
Daniel Russell December 18, 2008 05:44AMAs a professor of geology, you should be aware that the proper term for amethyst colored black by inclusions would be "quartz, variety amethyst, with inclusions". Amethyst colored red by inclusions would be "quartz, variety amethyst, with inclusions". If you know the natrure of the inclusions with certainty, you might even state "quartz, variety amethyst, with inclusion of goethite".
There is no such thing as amethyst that is black. Amethyst is sundry shades that can be described as ranging from violet-ish to purple-ish.
One would be hard-pressed to even claim in these instances that the "amethyst is colored black" by the inclusions, as the amethyst is still amethyst-colored throughout most of the specimen, and it is only in gross appearance that the amethyst appears dark.
Anonymous User December 18, 2008 01:33PMA very small percentage of the amethyst from Sweden, Maine, had such a deep purple color that it appeared almost black until you held it up to the light. Still, I don't see any advantage - financial or otherwise - in peddling it as "black amethyst". That reminds me of some of our Maine schorl xls, in which the color "looks great if you shine a laser through it". However, my favorite stretch was the morganite from a certain famous pegmatite that was promoted as "pink emerald"! 8-)
Jim Ferraiolo December 18, 2008 08:24PMTo correct Michael's definition.
"Sapphire" is corundum that is usually blue but may be any color except red. Anyone seeing a padparadschah sapphire (at the American Museum of Natural History, for a good example) would be quite surprised.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 12/18/2008 08:25PM by Jim Ferraiolo.
Ariel S Wall December 18, 2008 08:49PMLet me just start by saying that I'm a doctor. I know for a fact that "black amethyst" is petrified alien poop. It was brought here by lepperocons which are rare type of leprercon with leppracy. The lepperocons are keepers of the Black Amethyst and it is good. So if ANYONE tells you diffrent, just print off this posting and you can tell them you have a Doctor's note. Which is proof.
Daniel Russell December 18, 2008 09:45PMWoodrow Thompson Wrote:
> Still, I don't see any advantage -
> financial or otherwise - in peddling it as "black
In fact, there is considerable economic advantage. Hideously ugly diamonds - which once would have been ground into industrial grit - are now being sold by TV as "exotic" and "rare". They range from vomitous yellow-browns to "black diamonds" (opaque-looking bits of tat which appear slightly less appealing than faceted black onyx).
The terms "red amethyst" and "black amethyst" (and all the associated hyperbole) are intended to promote materials that were previously considered to be nearly unsaleable grunge as something exotic, rare and desirable.
As PT Barnum said, "there's a sucker born every minute". And we can guess where they buy their "gemstones".
Linda Smith December 18, 2008 09:46PMAriel,
Thanks for the chuckle. It is my birthstone and I am a geologist, and the last time I checked, my mineralogy book, classified amethyst as a variety of quartz. Of course new research may prove that the infamous"black" amethyst is an exterrestrial like meteorites and may contain some supernatural powers, like change our economy. >:D<
Rock Mama and Boogie Boarding Grandma
Adam Kelly December 19, 2008 12:13AMI have one of these alleged "black amethysts" from India.
Despite what Justin says I cherish the piece, and think black amethyst is a perfect descreptive term.
I also have on of the "ugly" onegite crystals. Yes it should be labled as,
Onegite "Quartz Var. Amethyst with Goethite inclusions"
All the information avalible should be provided.
P.S. Justin if any of those ugly onegites get in your way, I'll send you my mailing adderess
Peter Haas January 29, 2009 06:26PM"<...> where the visible photon is excited directly by the impurity causing the wonderful coloration <...>. Amethyst much like ruby achieves its coloration from an impurity, although instead of the visible photon being excited directly by the impurity the visible photon in amethyst is excited by an unstable species commonly called a color center which results from the unstable species <...>"
Photons can't be excited - they either are emitted or absorbed. Excitation is a process that implies absorption of energy (e.g. a photon, but not necessarily so). Hence, it's the colour centers that are excited.
There is no technical difference between stable and unstable impurities. If they absorb in the visible range, they are termed colour centers; if they don't, they are not. Besides, any excited state is unstable - it will return to the ground state within 10-7 - 10-10 seconds of time. The lifetime of the excited state has a direct impact on the line widths in the absorption spectrum (Heisenberg's principle).
A big question may arise here: Why do we see a colour when the photons are emitted almost instantaneously after they were absorbed ? There is another question which you should try to answer: Why wouldn't we see any colour at all, if this was not the case ?
To all of those who think that something like "black amethyst" is a helpful descriptive term: I strongly recommend to make yourself familiar with Lambert-Beer's law. Would you want to define critical values for absorptivity and number of colour centers per unit volume, beyond which a coloured mineral stops to be one variety and starts to be another ? This doesn't make any sense !
Kaz Knudsen December 27, 2013 02:23PMLoved the discussion - nice to know that the more informed regarding the mineral kingdom can disagree as much as those on the other side of the fence!! I sell crystals and minerals and work hard to get my terminology right. As I have a fair slew of Geologists, Mining Engineers, Miners and Collectors of all persuasions through my shop, I tend to take the roll of making sure I have correct information seriously -'cause for sure if I don't, I'll lose customers!!
It is a fascinating world, and I have learnt so much. Thank you all for a very entertaining discussion!! I have some very very dark Amethyst in my shop, which I will leave as Amethyst. I wouldn't DARE call it "Black Amethyst" after reading all the discussion points...... Thanks again.
Norman King December 27, 2013 03:25PMI'm a doctor too, so I must know a lot. But I never got rich, probably because most people think I'm a quack. Quack! Quack! Quack!
Fluorite, you know, also grades from dark purple to black. Perhaps we need varietal names for fluorites of different colors. That's an area that seems to have been completely overlooked. How about ameflyte for the purple stuff, and smokyflyte for the black? Imagine a whole new marketing bonanza!
Trevor Dart December 27, 2013 10:45PMAs a geologist, I too have come across the typical disagreements that come with geology and terminology. I once saw five geologists study the same rock and I got five different reasons for why it looked like it did.
To our "professor". I am thankful that I did not study mineralogy at your Institute as you obviously have not done any professional reading on mineral name accuracy, as defined by the IMA. There is no such thing as "black amethyst".
Amethyst is a variety name for purple coloured quartz. However give it to a blind person and it is still just quartz.
I was once collecting amethyst at the Corona Amethyst diggings - 90km North of Broken Hill - and in one single vein of quartz we found five different colours. At the base of the hill it was green at the surface and purple deeper down. Half-way up the hill it was light grey, then turned black within a few metres. Over the top of the hill it was colourless or milky white. It was the same vein that we followed for over 120 metres of strike, so according to the argument here, I found green amethyst, black amethyst, grey amethyst, colourless amethyst and actual purple amethyst
Or... was it just QUARTZ!!!
Cheers, from my little piece of the Sunny Australian Outback...
Rock Currier December 28, 2013 10:32AMSome Chinees bead dealers offer strands of white malachite. Or how about red emeralds. OH! where to stop. There are so many choice ones to choose from! How about dalmation stone or more recently (my favorite today) we got some sort of rock, I never did find out what it was, called internet stone on our invoice.
Crystals not pistols.
Trevor Dart December 28, 2013 10:08PMThese names are marketing ploys and nothing else. The IMA has defined a set number of accepted varieties of quartz and amethyst is one of these varieties. To add another adjective to describe it goes against the naming nomenclature. If you call it black, then by definition it is not amethyst. Say it is dark, (but don't label it it and market it as such) then technically it can be amethyst as this infers that the purple is very deep.
If the purple is that deep then it could be called "Black Night" or "Smoke" but only if "on the Water". However if the colour has been unnaturally enhanced then it has been effectively painted black and is nothing more than a rolling stone.
Cheers, from my little piece of the Sunny Australian Outback...
Rolf Luetcke March 23, 2014 01:34PMBoy did this thread go places. We had a friend with a store in Sedona who sold Buffalo Turquoise. It was white and as this thread showed, was not what I would call Turquoise but it sure sold for a ton of money. I still don't know exactly what the stuff was but it had no color.
Peter Nancarrow March 24, 2014 03:38PMHowlite (which is naturally white) is commonly dyed blue as a turquoise simulant, and not always declared as such, and according to Wikipedia, plain undyed howlite has also been marketed as "white turquoise" or "white buffalo turquoise".
Gemma Kerr March 05, 2015 07:46PMAny mineral containing a contaminant will look black if there is enough contaminant there to absorb all of the light falling on the crystal.
Ref an earlier comment, I was raised in Scotland, and there a cairngorm is always yellow quartz not black.
Bob Harman March 05, 2015 08:57PMI believe GEMMA's previous post is silly and largely misses the point. Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz, by definition being pale thru dark violet and/or pale thru dark purple or other shades of purple. As I understand it, it is usually due to atoms of iron in the quartz, giving it its color. Unlike citrine or turquoise which are accepted art world colors, amethyst is not an accepted art world color.
Go into any art store and ask a completely mineralogically ignorant employee to give you some "citrine" yellow paint or "turquoise" blue paint and they will find it for you. Ask them to give you "amethyst" purple and they can't do it as there is no "color" amethyst purple. I repeat that it is just the purple color variety of quartz and not an accepted color in the art world.
Any grey shades thru dark grey shades to black quartz (whether natural or artificially created) is the variety smoky quartz and, by definition not amethyst and also is not an art world color.
The recent picture by HAMZA is of such poor quality to not allow much identification. CHEERS……BOB
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/05/2015 08:59PM by BOB HARMAN.
Owen Melfyn Lewis March 05, 2015 11:23PMI'll guess no chance of amethyst.
re. your post of a year ago that there is no howlite in the market any more. I recently checked some 6mm beads for a bead-selling friend. Testing includes cracking one or two open. The 'howlite' specimen checked out by appearance, SG, and the grey veining not being a surface effect but running right through the specimen cracked open.
OTOH some 'lapis' beads of hers (bought during a Tucson 2014 visit, no less) bled blue dye like a stuck pig when soaked in dioxyethanol with the white stuff remaining having an SG just right for magnesite. As you will know, The SG for howlite and magnesite are quite distinct.
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/06/2015 04:39PM by Owen Melfyn Lewis.
Rock Currier March 08, 2015 04:28AMOwen,
It is my understanding that almost all the "howlite" now being used by lapidary factories in China and other places is magnesite from South Africa. I have never been to the locality it comes from and I have never tested any of it. I suppose the reason for this is because I live near the Tick Canyon howlite locality and have been exposed to tons of the material and am easily able to spot the difference between the original material and the so called new "howlite". The trick is the black vs. the gray veining that runs through the two materials. The black veining is typical of the Tick Canyon howlite. The reason that howlite got to be a common staple in the gem/lapidary community at all is that nodules of the Tick Canyon howlite came in nodules up to larger than head size and spheres and slabs could be cut out of the material and it could be tumbled polished without much trouble. But more than that, it would take dyes and could be made into tumbled stones of various colors. Craft Stones when Herb Walters was running the company down in San Diego County would buy tons of the stuff tumble up and die the tumbled stones a nice turquoise blue color which with its black veining made a very nice cheap substitute for turquoise. The stuff was cheap and since I was only interested in mineral specimens at the time, I ignored the stuff for years. A few years ago I realized that this was almost a lost locality because of the amount of housing that had been built up in the area. So when we bought a huge hoard of lapidary rough from some guys back yard, I picked out the best big nodule of howlite (about head size) and had it cut in half and polished. I have it to this day sitting on the floor of my office up against a wall. A sort of veneration of things past.
At any rate, Craftstones was bought up by Top Stones of South Africa and because the supply of howlite had pretty much dried up they found that the South African magnesite, which was abundant, made a good if not exact substitute for the Tick Canyon howlite and started to tumble polish and die that material. Because this magnesite was abundant Chinese lapidary factories started to import containers of it for as a raw material for beads and other lapidary goods. And of course more than a few of the people selling this material would represent the died magnesite as being howlite which was a name that was already familiar on the market, and of course the died material would be called turquoise, lapis or what ever higher value name would get the selling done.
I also thought that the variety of clear and smoky quartz shown in the film was interesting as was the statement that the tint of the quartz didn't make any difference in its use for oscillator chips. Recently I was told that one of the reasons behind the collapse of the Brazilian laska (quartz chip) industry a few years ago was caused because the suppliers would mix quartz chips from various localities that had slightly different physical properties. In the quartz country in Brazil, the area is the Itacolomi sandstones, I saw little mud brick ovens that had been made to cook somewhat smoky quartz to make it clear so that the chips could be sold to the laska buyers without rejection. Obviously this was a cosmetic end run about the grading restrictions that the buyers has in place. But apparently most of the chips were going for use in the fiberoptic industry and the mixing of chips from various loczalities played havoc with the production of these fibers and when it became possible to buy a better starting material, in the way of sand from a particular locality that had been cleaned up, the users of the Brazilian laskas were told to go take a hike and were effectively out of business. At any rate, all of this is to some extent hear say. I would wonder if you had any other thought or comments about this. Some of the quartz specimens I bought in Brazil came from localities that made most of their money from the laskas industry and when that market dried up, many of the quartz mines in Brazil closed down, so to some extent my supply of quartz specimens also declined. This was not just in Minas Gerais, but also in Bahia and in the quartz crystal producing region of Cristalina in Goiaz.
Crystals not pistols.
kat February 22, 2016 03:59AMKat Wrote:
> black amethyst is an amethyst with hematite
> inclusion within the matrix of the stone giving it
> a deeper purple/black color, but is not by
> definition a smokey quartz
that being said its still purple, but much darker a shade
photo of "black" amethyst
Kevin Cooper February 11, 2018 09:09AMI just want to put it out there that black amethyst is not just a marketing ploy and is real. I've dug some up myself in Virginia. Originally I was assuming I should call It smoky amethyst, but it's different(I know cause I found that as well). This one specimen I collected appears like a dark black smoky quartz, but when you hold it up to the light or put a light behind it, you can clearly see the whole thing is a very nice purple with no grey and actually gemmy/clear. Here are 2 photos of this crystal to show the difference in color. As you can see it definitely appears black at first until you see it with the light behind it. I will have to take some better photos eventually to put up on a locality page.
Megan Garza March 04, 2018 05:59AMI spotted this “black amethyst” at a jewelry and gem store in Ireland. I have never seen snything like before. I have a bunch of amethyst in variois Shades from Thunder Bay, but none looked like this. So, is this amethyst, quartz, or something else?
Owen Lewis March 04, 2018 02:46PMAlfredo Petrov Wrote:
> Instead of oxymorons like colored varietal names
> with the wrong color, why not just add the color
> to the species name, like "red quartz" or "black
> quartz"? Then no one will have reason to complain.
Very true. You are a dealer; why don't you go right ahead? One action is worth a thousand words.
P.S. If an amethyst is not amethyst, well, it ain't an amethyst. As for 'Rose de France' well yes, that's not amethyst either
Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/04/2018 02:54PM by Owen Lewis.
Jolyon & Katya Ralph March 04, 2018 02:55PM> Very true. You are a dealer; why don't you go
> right ahead? One action is worth a thousand words.
He labels his things accurately :)
I've seen other dealers who refuse to label 'amethyst' as anything except "quartz". But they are few and far between.
Owen Lewis October 03, 2018 06:05AMKevin Hean Wrote:
> I think some of you chaps missed it.
> It's... Oxy More ions. :-)
Ditch the oxy. Blackish quartz is sometimes called morion ;-). Looks grey in the attached pic due to the extrem grazing angle of lighting selected (to maximise difference in light reflected from the selected surface thus emphasising a growth pattern otherwise invisible in this specimen).
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