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Amethyst Gemstone Information

Amethyst Gemstones
Natural Amethyst Gemstones

Introduction

Amethyst's name comes from the Greek word 'amethystos' meaning not intoxicating as in ancient times it was thought that the crystal would prevent you from getting drunk!

In the crystal kingdom, Amethyst is the eye-catching purple or violet regent which is by far the most popular and valuable form of quartz in the world today. Not long ago, amethyst were part of the five cardinal gems considered the most valuable, diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire being the other four.

Amethyst is a semi precious gemstone which is hard enough to be used in a variety of jewelry pieces and its availability in large sizes means it can be used for some stunning ornate carvings. It owes its vibrant color to the presence of iron or manganese (sometimes both) when forming in fissures within igneous rocks from nearly all parts of the globe.

The color purple is associated with royalty, nobility, luxury, power, ambition, think of those kings and nobles wrapped in long purple robes and the religious leaders and buildings draped in purple decorations on their most holy occasions.

Amethyst Colors

Amethyst Color Range
Amethyst Color Range

Amethyst is purple quartz, from lilacs with pink undertones and delicate lavenders all the way up to deep plums and raspberries with hints of red and blue and even some rich brown versions.

If it is not purple it is not amethyst.

The deeper colors are the most valuable with strong reddish purple or deep purple with no color variation throughout the stone the most popular. Too deep a color can look black in dim lighting so this can diminish their value.

Siberia in Russia once produced the finest amethyst crystals in a particular rich purple color that was fired by red and blue flashes. Unfortunately the mines of Siberia have been exhausted so now Siberian Amethyst only refers to the color not the source.

Another popular color is Rose de France, a pale rose or light lilac colored stone with better examples showing even color throughout. Rose de France is found mostly in Brazil but healthy deposits have been located in other parts of South America such as Bolivia and in Zambia in Africa.

With the correct cutting, this pale lilac gemstone can display dramatic color changes from red to blue when viewed from different angles – a phenomenon called pleochroism.

Amethyst crystals are sensitive to sunlight, if they are exposed for too long a period the color can fade considerable and this cannot be reversed. Prolonged exposure to moisture and heat can also cause color to fade.

Amethyst Species

Amethyst is a member of the quartz family or silicon dioxide as is Citrine. The only real difference between these crystals is the color, purple for amethyst and yellow for citrine. The color is caused by the presence of iron in both crystals but in the yellow citrine the iron has oxidized a little bit more.

Amethyst and citrine are both forms of quartz and are often found in the same location. But it is rare for both colors of quartz to be found in the same crystal, when it does the crystal is known as Ametrine. Both citrine and amethyst are colored by traces of iron, but the color of the zones visible within ametrine are due to differing oxidation states of iron within the crystal. The different oxidation states occur due to temperature differences across the crystal during its formation.

Amethyst Clarity

Amethyst can occur in very large flawless crystals and is labeled a Type2 gemstone meaning they are usually found without any material such as minerals, gases, liquids or even other crystals trapped inside during its formation (known as an inclusion). For this reason, there is no need to buy amethyst with any visible inclusions unless the color is exceptionally attractive.

Amethyst Cut

Amethyst can be faceted into almost any style of cut and is used in all types of jewelry, rings, bracelets, necklaces, earrings, pendants and so on. By being available in large clear sizes, amethyst can be cut into some very interesting ornamental pieces. It is a hard crystal so can be cut into rounds, ovals, pears, cushions, marquises and others. If the quality of color allows, it can be shaped into some superb emerald cut or step cut gemstones.

Amethyst Weight

Very few members of the quartz family can reach large sizes and have very few inclusions. Amethyst is one such quartz and others include Smoky Quartz, Citrine and Ametrine. For this reason the price per carat climbs steadily and not exponentially as with some gemstones that rarely occur in large, clear dimensions. Some beautiful examples of amethyst can be found, eye-clean (that is no flaws or inclusion visible to the naked eye), in 5 carat, 10 carat or even bigger gemstones.

Colored gemstones have a wide variety of relative densities, for example a 1 carat sapphire is considerably smaller than a 1 carat diamond while a 1 carat emerald would be quite a bit larger. Because of this, we suggest buying gemstones such as amethyst by physical size, the width in millimeters, rather that carat weight, so you know exactly what you are getting.

Amethyst History

Amethyst has a long association with man and until the discovery of great quantities in South America it was valued as highly as diamonds. It is mentioned several times in the old-testament bible and was one of the twelve stones found on the breastplate of Aaron, the brother of Moses. In the Revelations in the New Testament, Amethyst is the twelfth stone in the foundations of Jerusalem.

The color purple has long been considered a royal color and in the past purple was so difficult to produce that only royalty or the very rich could afford it. The dye is made by crushing a particular sea shell (9000 shells to make one gram of dye) found only in the Mediterranean Sea near modern day Lebanon. So you can imagine how valuable the naturally occurring purple crystal, Amethyst was in historical times.

In 1901, Egyptian workmen were clearing the tomb of the Pharoah Djer believed to be from about 3000 BC when they came across a rather gruesome find – an arm placed into a hole in the wall. The arm was removed and the wrappings unraveled to reveal four bracelets of gold, lapis lazuli, turquoise, and amethyst still on the wrist. These bracelets are now on display in the Cairo Museum.

Amethyst Meaning

Amethyst is associated with protection, balance and clarity.

Amethyst crystals have a long history and connection to man, going back to ancient Greeks with their amethyst drinking cups to ward off excessive drunkenness. This sobriety can be metaphysical as well as literal, amethyst can help you see things clearly and not be clouded by emotions or anger allowing you to calmly deal with any problems or issues life might throw at you. Amethyst comes in many shapes and sizes so it is very versatile – it can be worn, carried, or used to decorate your home or office.

Traditional Tibetan prayer beads have been made from amethyst for centuries and are used to purify the mind in preparation for meditation. Amethyst crystals can be used in the same way at home for private contemplation, to relieve stress, for inspiration and to promote a good night’s sleep. Placing an amethyst somewhere in your bathroom is a great way to relieve anxiety while taking a soothing bath.

The home means family and with the love and joy of a family also comes some pain, an amethyst located where the family gather can assist greatly with open and honest communication as well as bonding.

Amethysts are the problem solvers of the crystal world so incorporating one in the office will help to create a peaceful working environment and help you listen to other people’s worries, whether it is a customer or fellow worker.

Medieval soldiers wore amethyst amulets for protection in battle and while we hope you will not be involved in a physical battle with swords and cannons we all face our own battles each day and amethyst can be a great safeguard against psychic attack, thieves and the dangers of travel.

Can you wear amethyst every day? There is no clear cut answer to this question other than how it makes you feel. Some say it is too powerful to be worn everyday and should be reserved for Saturdays only while others like to wear one everyday to work to gain the most benefit. Simply find out what is best for you, if you have any negative feelings while wearing amethyst then there are one or two options. You can build up the use of the quartz, little by little each day, until you gain its full power or you may have to find an alternative crystal.

Amethyst Healing Powers

Amethyst is well known as an aid in your metaphysical and spiritual well being but did you know Amethyst can help in a physical way too? It revives vitality, especially in those recovering from chemotherapy or radiation treatment, strengthens the immune system, helps with skin conditions, aids the respiratory system and alleviates tinnitus and headaches.

In an echo of its ancient use to prevent the effects of over indulging in alcohol, amethyst can help in the battle against various addictions, alcohol, tobacco and opioids are just a few of the issues that van be combated with the help of amethyst crystal. Is it any wonder that so many addiction health care facilities have amethyst in their name?

Anyone needing an antioxidant, help with blood circulation, wound support, a cure for insomnia, and relief from mental disorders and psychic attacks should think about getting an amethyst crystal.

Amethyst Prices

Amethyst Price List

Color Weight range Price range / USD
Purple / Violet 1 - 10ct $5 - $50/ct
Purple / Violet 10ct + $10 - $80/ct

Amethyst is the most valued of all the quartz varieties and for centuries was only available to the very rich and associated with royalty and nobility because of its rich purple hues. Nowadays it is widely available and generally affordable so has become one of the world’s most popular gemstones used in a variety of jewelry pieces. The most important factor in determining the value of amethyst is its color, deep vibrant purples with consistent color saturation leads to the highest prices. Of course with color come clarity, cut and carat size and they all contribute to the value of an amethyst gemstone.

How much does it cost?

Where the amethyst comes from is not usually important when valuing a crystal although the top name to look for is Siberian Crystal but these days that just refers to its color not its source. Madagascar and Brazil have reputations for producing some very high quality stones and can fetch premium prices.

Where is Amethyst found?

Amethyst is found on all continents with the largest deposits found in South and North America and Africa. The biggest producer is Brazil which processes two or three thousand tons per year well ahead of Zambia in second place.

Mines in the Ural Mountains of Siberia used to produce the finest amethyst gemstones but these days ‘Siberian’ refers to a trade name for gems similar in color to those originally found in Siberia.

An amethyst mine in Wadi el-Hudi in Egypt’s Eastern Desert, not far from Aswan in the Eastern Desert has been dated back 3900 years and other ancient amethyst sources were Persia and India.

Can Amethyst be treated?

Generally Amethyst gemstones are not treated. Heat treatment of amethyst usually reduces the naturally attractive purple hues so is not recommended. Occasionally very dark amethyst is heat treated to lighten the color and light colored amethyst with the right iron content can be heated to produce another crystal known as Citrine. Certain Brazilian amethysts are heat treated to create the green colored Prasiolite variety.

What jewelry is Amethyst suitable for?

Emerald Rings
Amethyst Jewelry Designs by GemSelect

Because of its durability, amethyst is an ideal gemstone for any type of daily wear jewelry. In addition, the availability of large quartz crystals makes an amethyst perfect for fancy cuts including concave cuts where the shaping of the gemstone results in a lot of wastage.

While amethyst gemstones have a Mohs scale hardness of 7 and are strong enough to withstand the rigors of daily wear care should be taken to avoid any sharp blows. Crystals should be stored carefully to avoid contact with hard materials which could break, chip or scratch the gem.

If you are setting an amethyst gem in a metal, the choice of metal will come down to a matter of taste but the purple color of a beautiful amethyst quartz goes very well with yellow gold for a vintage look and white gold or silver for a more modern style.

How is Amethyst formed?

Amethyst is found inside geodes all over the world. What is a geode I hear you ask? Typically, a geode is formed by bubbles trapped within volcanic rock or lava. The outer rock hardens, often in a circular or oval shape leaving an empty space inside. This hollow is filled over millions of years by liquids rich in silicon dioxide (and in the case of amethyst elements of iron) that slowly crystallize into the quartzes we all love today. These geodes can range from a few centimeters in diameter to one big enough for two or three people to climb inside!

Did you know? Interesting facts about Amethyst

  • Amethyst is the birthstone for February

    Amethyst is by far the most popular quartz and the most popular purple gemstone, amethyst is made up of the colors red and blue – red for energy and strength and blue for spirituality and integrity, a winning combination.
    Valentine's Day falls in the month of February, and a gift of an amethyst gemstone has naturally become a preferred gift for sweethearts to exchange thus becoming a symbol of love. St. Valentine himself is supposed to have worn an amethyst ring carved with the image of Cupid.
    Amethyst is also the 6th, the 17th and the 33rd Wedding Anniversary stone so along with a long and happy marriage you could build up quite a collection of beautiful purple gemstones.

  • Amethyst can be soaked overnight in water in order to make a skin care potion.
  • Ancient Greeks would drink their wine from goblets decorated with amethyst gemstones in order to not get too drunk. One of its nicknames is the 'sobriety stone'.
  • Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst quickens intelligence and rids one of evil thoughts and he should know all about that!
  • In Chinese medicine, amethyst is recommended to stave off bad dreams. Similarly, the Hebrew word for Amethyst is 'ahlamah' meaning dream but this time wearing an amethyst brought on dreams and visions.
  • Amethyst is the official gemstone of the Canadian province of Ontario and the state gemstone of South Carolina in the United States.
  • Amethyst signet rings were traditionally worn by church bishops.

  • Amethyst is contained in many of the world’s crown jewels, including those of Queen Elizabeth II of England.
  • The Delhi Purple Sapphire is actually an amethyst

    The story of the Delhi Purple Sapphire probably deserves a page all to itself such is the amazing story of this cursed piece of jewelry. Looted from a Hindu temple by British soldiers it was wrongly identified as a sapphire but is now known to be an amethyst. Once locked away in seven boxes filled with charms it now resides in Britain’s Natural History Museum, see it if you dare.

  • The Duchess of Windsor was a famous collector of fine jewelry and her collection included a Cartier designed amethyst and turquoise necklace.

How to care for Amethyst

Amethyst can be safely, simply, and effectively cleaned with warm soapy water and a soft brush, such as a toothbrush. Ultrasonic cleaners may be used to clean amethyst but be wary in the very rare case that it has been dyed or fracture-filled.

Careful: ultrasonic cleaners can not only cause and exacerbate fractures in gemstones, they can loosen jewelry and cause gems to fall out of their settings. Steam cleaners should not be used to clean amethyst because it should not be subjected to high temperatures.

Amethyst is durable enough to survive the odd bump or knock on a hard surface; however, you should always take care to avoid such abuse. That is why it is always recommended to remove jewelry before physical activities, especially household cleaning or gardening.

Due to amethyst's hardness, it is important to protect softer stones from being scratched. Similarly, you will want to prevent scratches to your amethyst from harder gems (sapphire, diamonds, etc.). Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your amethyst separate from all other gems of different hardness in a fabric-lined compartment of a jewelry box. Individual cloth jewelry bags are also suitable if you have limited space in your box.

How do you know if you have a real Amethyst?

Is this gem real?

Man-made or synthetic amethyst is out there, as are heat treated gemstones to enhance colors. In addition, glass or dyed cheap crystals can also be passed off as the real thing. How can you be sure you are getting the real deal?

Obviously a certified gemstone from a reputable dealer is the best approach but this is not always possible when you are out searching for a great gemstone or a bargain! Amethyst gemstones are also of such a price that it is sometimes not worth paying for a certification. There are a few techniques to keep you out of trouble.

First check the color, amethysts are basically purple or violet gemstone, could be lighter are darker but should be purple. In a real gemstone it is very unlikely that the gemstone will be consistently the same shade throughout the stone and may change slightly in different lighting.

Amethysts with eye-clean clarity are quite abundant so most stones worthy of being a gemstone will have no inclusions or flaws visible to the naked eye. However the synthetic stones on the market will usually be flawless so this is no help, in fact checking a real amethyst gemstone under magnification will reveals some minor imperfections.

A simple hardness check may expose a fake. An amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, so it is harder than your fingernail or a penknife, if either of these can scratch the gem in question, it is not a real amethyst.

Price as a guide. Amethyst is fairly inexpensive but if you see a prime example at a price too good to be true, it probably isn’t true so avoid buying such 'bargains'.

Look out for fanciful names. Any time you see stones labeled as Japanese Amethyst or Bengal Amethyst be distrustful of such gemstones, do a bit of research into amethysts first before buying.

This is not a complete guide on how to spot a fake amethyst or man-made amethyst, which has the same crystal structure, hardness and specific gravity but I hope it helps.

At GemSelect, we currently offer brief identification reports from your choice of two well-respected independent gemological laboratories, The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences (AIGS) and Burapha Gemological Laboratory (BGL Lab).

Can Amethyst change color?

Some gemstones have the remarkable ability to change color under sunlight, fluorescent or incandescent lighting, for example diaspore, fluorite and color-change sapphire display this phenomenon however amethyst is not a color changing gemstone except in the case of Rose de France amethyst and some reported purple/red examples.

How can you tell a good quality Amethyst?

Amethyst is all about the color purple but there are variations and which particular shade appeals to you is what is most important when buying a gemstone. That being said, the best color for a top quality amethyst is a nice deep purple with secondary hues of red and blue, an even color throughout and vivid saturation. It is always a good idea to check your amethyst in daylight to get a good look at the color.

Amethyst is relatively easy and inexpensive to find in larger carat sizes but as with most colored gems we recommend you select the gems on actual size in millimeters so you will know exactly what you are getting.

Does Amethyst hold its value?

Amethyst is an inexpensive gemstone probably not considered an investment or to have any real resale value. They are meant to be enjoyed for their fun, vibrant color, interesting cuts and availability in large sizes.

Amethyst - Gemological Properties

Chemical Formula:

SiO2 - Silicon dioxide

Crystal Structure:

Trigonal; hexagonal prisms

Color:

Violet, pale red-violet, purple

Hardness:

7 on the Mohs scale

Refractive Index:

1.544 - 1.553

Density:

2.65

Cleavage:

None

Transparency:

Transparent to semi-translucent

Double Refraction or Birefringence:

0.009

Luster:

Vitreous

Fluorescence:

Weak - bluish

  • First Published: October-28-2019
  • Last Updated: October-29-2019
  • © 2005-2019 GemSelect.com all rights reserved.
    Reproduction (text or graphics) without the express written consent of GemSelect.com (SETT Company Ltd.) is strictly prohibited.
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Size and Weight

Gems are always measured in Millimeter (mm)

Dimensions are given as;
length x width x depth,
except for round stones which are;
diameter x depth

Select gems by size, not by weight!
Gem varieties vary in density, so carat weight is not a good indication of size

Note: 1ct = 0.2g

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