Amethyst Gemstone Information
About Amethyst - History and Introduction
Amethyst is the most precious and valuable stone belonging to the quartz group of minerals, with exception to rare blue-green gem silica. It is recognized as the official birthstone for the month of February. Amethyst belongs to the macrocrystalline branch of quartz and owes its violet/purple color to iron and aluminum impurities. Without such coloring agents, amethyst would simply be transparent, ordinary colorless quartz. Like other varieties of macrocrystalline quartz, amethyst has transparent to translucent clarity and a vitreous luster. Cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz almost always occur with translucent to opaque clarity.
Amethyst Versus Citrine
Amethyst is the violet-colored sister stone of golden citrine quartz. Color-zone ametrine is the bicolored combination of both amethyst and citrine. The only difference between amethyst and citrine is the level of iron impurities in amethyst. When amethyst is heated at high temperatures of around 470ºC to 750ºC, iron impurities are reduced and can turn violet amethyst into golden 'heated' citrine. Lower grade amethyst stones are often heated to produce golden colored citrine stones. Heated citrine will typically appear more reddish when compared to unheated citrine.
Identifying Amethyst Back to Top
In artificial light, amethyst does not display its best color. Amethyst looks best in daylight; more precisely, slightly after sunrise or just before sunset when the light is soft and warm. Amethyst is distinguished by its violet-purple colors. The best specimens should have a deep purple color and good saturation with minimal color zoning.
Amethyst Origin and Gemstone Sources Back to Top
The most important amethyst deposits are in Brazil, namely the "Palmeira" amethysts of Rio Grande do Sul and the "Maraba" amethysts of Para. Other significant amethyst deposits are located in Bolivia, Canada, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar (Burma), Namibia, Russia, Sri Lanka, United States (Arizona), Uruguay and Zambia.
Buying Amethyst and Determining its Gemstone Value Back to Top
Amethyst Gemological Properties: Back to Top
Amethyst Gemstone Varieties or other Similar Gemstones: Back to Top
There are many different varieties of quartz gemstones, and most are based on optical properties such as color and crystal structure, but other varieties refer to origin or other similar traits. Locality based trade names are used mostly by gemstone sellers or collectors only.
Amethyst Gemstone Mythology, Metaphysical and Alternative Crystal Healing Powers Back to Top
The legend of the origin of amethyst comes to us from a Greek myth. Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a human and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path. Aggressive tigers would carry out his wish. Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana was to become the victim. Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the tigers' brutal claws. Dionysus wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the famous gem.
Amethyst Gemstone and Jewelry Design Ideas Back to Top
Amethyst is ideal for any type of jewelry design because it is considered both hard and durable. Amethyst stones are typically worn as pendants, necklaces or rings. Due to amethyst having a purple-violet color, many believe that amethyst should be worn by females only. However, purple is the color of royalty and royalty has no gender preference. Therefore, it is an excellent choice of stone for men or women. Amethyst is harder than most other materials, so it is very resistant to wear and tear. Amethyst is a favorite for many jewelers because of the large sizes and shapes available. Amethyst is the most popular purple-violet colored gemstone on the market today, followed by blue-violet tanzanite, spinel, sapphire and iolite.
Note: Buy colored gemstones by size and not by carat weight. Colored stones vary in size-to-weight ratio. Some stones are larger and others are smaller than diamonds by weight in comparison.
Amethyst Gemstone and Jewelry Care and Cleaning Back to Top
Amethyst can easily be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap. Wipe down amethyst using a soft cloth or toothbrush. Amethyst is quartz and although it is relatively hard and durable, there are a number of other gemstones capable of easily scratching amethyst. Therefore, take caution and do not place other harder gems near amethyst when storing, cleaning or wearing amethyst jewelry. As with most other colored stones, do not use harsh household chemicals when cleaning amethyst gemstone jewelry. Avoid prolonged exposure to extreme heat, because heat can cause permanent damage to the gemstone. When storing amethyst, always store jewelry inside a fabric-lined box or wrap it in a soft cloth. Amethyst should be stored separately from other stones, whether of whether or not they are harder or softer.
- First Published: August-12-2006
- Last Updated: May-12-2014
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