Amethyst is the February birthstone and belongs to the quartz group of minerals. Ranking 7 on the Moh’s scale for hardness, the Amethyst is a fairly durable gemstone and has been a popular choice for jewelry for many centuries.
The Amethyst is notable for its beautiful violet-purple tones, which in ancient times was a color only worn by royalty. Fortunately, these days, the Amethyst is far more affordable and has become a favorite gemstone for rings and all types of birthstone jewelry.
The Amethyst owes its beautiful color to the presence of iron and aluminium impurities. As a result, the gemstone can be found in a wide range of purple shades from purple to violet and reddish violet, although the deeper tones of purple are the most valuable – particularly those with flashes of red and rose colors. The appearance of bands of color in an amethyst is an excellent way of differentiating it from other purple stones.
For example, Green Amethyst is not a true amethyst but is created by exposing pale lavender quartz to high temperature treatment. This changes it into a pretty spring green. In a similar way, the golden colored gemstone Citrine can also be created by exposing pale Amethyst stones to high temperature treatment. The name Amethyst should therefore only be given to the purple variety of quartz. See
Sources of amethyst
Amethyst is found in many areas of the world, including Mexico, Brazil, Uruguay, Africa, and Russia. In the United States, Amethyst can be found in Montana, Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and New Jersey. Siberian amethysts are very clear and dark and considered to be some of the very best.
Because amethysts are not particularly rare or expensive the incidence of fakes is quite low. However, if you find a “bargain” amethyst ring with a perfect color and clarity that seems a lot less expensive than you would expect, then it may be glass or a synthetic stone.
Amethyst is only one of several quartz varieties. Other varieties include: Citrine, Milky Quartz, Prasiolite, Rose Quartz and Smoky Quart>
The word Amethyst comes from the Greek “amethystos”, meaning “not drunken” or “not intoxicated”. In ancient times, the rich purple wine color of the Amethyst was believed to hold special powers and be a strong antidote against intoxication and poisoning. The Greeks and the Romans used to carve wine goblets used at celebrations from Amethyst, which allowed the wine to be diluted and watered down considerably, yet still keep its rich color. Guests awoke the next morning without a hangover, and began to praise Amethyst as a stone of sobriety!
Amethyst is also associated with peace, serenity, and harmony and is said to have been carried by soldiers for good luck, protection and victory in battles.
Because purple has historically been regarded as a color only to be worn by royalty, the Amethyst has enjoyed prominence as a regal jewel and as an insignia of power
Amethysts were worn by Egyptian kings and queens, by the ancient Greeks and Romans and by European royalty.
The magnificent St Edward’s crown, made for King Charles II of Great Britain in 1661, displays a number of beautiful amethysts and is part of the Crown Jewels Collection at the Tower of London in England.
The deep purple Amethyst color and its association with power, has also led to its connection with spirituality. The color purple is a liturgical color for Lent and has been used historically in various forms of mysticism for enhancing psychic awareness and for meditation. In Eastern philosophy, Violet is the color for the Crown Chakra and believed to bring about serenity.
The Amethyst is the Zodiac Gemstone for Pisces. With colors ranging from tantalising lilac to rich plum, the regal and dramatic hues of Purple are captured perfectly in a beautiful Amethyst. Matched with intensity and emotion, the Amethyst is the perfect foil to the Pisces’ calmer nature!
The amethyst ring chosen by Zoe Saldana for her appearance at the Oscars blends totally with her lilac pink and purple dress.
In fact the violet and purple shades of amethyst work beautifully with all precious metals such as rose gold, yellow gold and the ever popular white gold and silver. In particular, the warmth of rose gold complements the rich purple colors of the Amethyst wonderfully – and for a true regal touch, yellow gold is the perfect metal to make you feel like royalty.
For a cool, classic look, then silver or the silvery metals of white gold, platinum or palladium provides an ideal setting for all the Amethyst tones of violet and purple – as well as for the delicate shades of the Green Amethyst.
Amethysts are frequently cut as brilliant rounds and oval stones to maximize their color and sparkle – as shown above in Zoe Saldana’s ring. Amethysts with cloudy inclusions are often cut into cabochons.