From faint lilac to deep purple, amethysts are known for their alluring hues. They’re the most prized stones of the quartz family, and it’s their colour that sets them apart.
It is said that amethyst is derived from the Greek word ‘amethustos’, which means ‘not intoxicated’. It was believed that people who wore amethysts wouldn’t suffer from hangovers!
Where in the world ?
Currently, the main sources of amethysts are Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Zambia, South Korea and the US.
Amethysts have a hardness that rates 7 on the Mohs scale, meaning they are durable and well suited to jewellery.
Amethysts are quartz crystals, and they contain pointed formations called ‘amethyst cathedrals’, which give the stones their brilliance (once cut and polished).
In their rough form they are called amethyst geodes, and these are often used as ornaments.
The gorgeous purple colour of the amethyst is believed to come from an iron mineral found in quartz. Green amethysts have also been found in Zimbabwe and Arizona – this colour anomaly is thought to occur from exposure to the sun.
Quick care tip
Don’t overexpose amethysts to sunlight as this can cause its tone to fade.
Amethyst Buying Tips
- Because amethysts are in plentiful supply on earth, their valuation rests on colour rather than on size – the deeper a stone’s purple as its primary colour, the higher the price tag.
- The highest grade amethyst is called ‘Deep Russian’, it is extremely rare and contains around 75–80% purple as its primary colour.
- When buying amethysts, look for a deeply rich and uniform purple hue.
- Luckily, amethysts are one of the most popular yet affordable gems on the marketplace.
- Inferior stones with a poor cut will have visible inclusions, which will reduce the value of the stone and therefore does not make for a good buy.
- Another feature to steer clear of when looking for amethyst jewellery is prominent white streaks - these are veins of original quartz and deplete the gem’s rich purple brilliance.
- If cut conventionally, these gems can also display alluring secondary shades of red.
- Do not overexpose an amethyst to sunlight as this can cause its tone to fade.
One of the most favoured of non-precious gemstones, amethysts present such a superbly rich purple hue that they are simply a must-have for any jewellery fan. These beautiful gems are both entrancing and enticing, while at the same time being refreshingly affordable.
|| Silicon dioxide|
|| Very wide colour range -- colourless, yellow, brown, purple, pink, greenish. Crypto crystalline quartz often displays exotic colour bands, swirls, and other patterns.|
|| R.I. 1.553-1.554. Uniaxial positive|
|| Hardness 7|
|| 2.651 for crystalline material, up to 2.91 for crypto crystalline|
|Sources / Occurrence
|| Extremely widespread|
|| Crystalline Quartz—Amethyst, Citrine, Ametrine, Vermarine/Prasiolite, Rock Crystal, Smoky Quartz, Rose Quartz|
Crypto crystalline Quartz—Agate, Aventurine, Bloodstone, Cornelian, Calchedony, Chrysocolla Quartz, Chryoprase, Fire Agate, Jasper, Pertrified Dinosaur Bone, Petrified wood, Prase, Sard, Sardonyx, Tiger’s eye and Turritella.
To ensure your jewellery remains as dazzling as the day you buy it, see our guide called Cleaning & Care - How to Keep Your Jewellery in Mint Condition.