The amethyst in the Pope’s rings had to come from somewhere, and the Wanda Amethyst Mines in Puerto Iguazu, Argentina is just the place.
The Wanda Mines are a productive series of caves that welcome outsiders to visit and even walk into to see the gems raw. Visitors can see the miners’ hands-on approach to ensuring that full geodes are kept as whole as possible, and view amethyst, milky quartz, clear quartz, and other minerals in situ. There’s a very big gem shop that (of course) ends the tour, but the prices are good for any enthused gemologists. There’s even an inexpensive (clean, delicious and expansive) parilla restaurant on site if the tour makes attendees hungry for something other than riches.
Know Before You Go
From Iguazu National Park, take the road south toward Posadas for about 45 minutes until you reach the town of Wanda. At the rotary, go right and follow the signs through a small town for La Mina Wanda. It's about 10 minutes after the rotary. Easy to find, and anyone will point you in the right direction.