Amazing Amethyst

Now that you know how much I admire amethyst (see last post), I thought I would tell you a little bit more about it. 

Amethyst, a beautiful purple gemstone, has long been valued by humans. 

Ancient Greeks believed that amethyst helped to ward off drunkenness, and often drank from wine goblets carved from it.  Wouldn’t those goblets have been beautiful?  I would love to have an amethyst goblet!  

Soldiers in medieval Europe often wore amethyst amulets in the belief that amethyst brought good fortune in war.  

Amethyst has been engraved and cut into sculpted forms since ancient times.

Intaglio of Roman Emperor Caracalla, circa 212 AD

Intaglio of Roman Emperor Caracalla, circa 212 AD - photo copyrighted by Marie-Lan Nguyen/Wikimedia Commons

Amethyst is a variety of quartz.  It is always purple, but the shade can vary from the palest lavender to the darkest purple.  The presence of iron impurities in the quartz is what gives it its beautiful regal purple colour.  If it isn’t purple it might be a quartz, but it’s not amethyst.    

amethyst geode

Amethyst Crystals - photo by Ben Sutherland/Flickr

Amethyst was considered to be a precious stone (along with diamond, emerald, ruby and sapphire) until the 19th century when new deposits were discovered in South America.   The new found abundance of the mineral brought down the value of amethyst and today it is considered a semi-precious stone.

It is the birthstone for February. 

amethyst gemstones

Faceted amethyst gemstones - photo by opacity/Flickr

A moderately hard stone, 7 on Moh’s scale of hardness, amethyst is appropriate for use in all types of jewelry.  However, it can lose some of its colour in sunlight, so it is best to store it in a dark place like a jewelry box or drawer, rather than leaving out on your dresser. 

Amethyst is often heat treated to produce a darker colour.  Some poorer colour quality specimens are heat treated to change their colour.  At that point they are no longer considered to be amethyst but rather prasiolite if green or citrine if yellow.    

Here are a few examples of how I have used amethyst in jewelry.  I hope you will come to love amethyst as much as I do.   

amethyst necklace

Amethyst and Sterling Silver Necklace

amethyst ring

Amethyst and Sterling Silver Ring

amethyst and sterling silver bracelet

Amethyst and Sterling Bracelet

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One thought on “Amazing Amethyst

  1. I also love amethyst. I did not know about the change of colors when heated. Cirine was a surprise, an amethyst in sheep clothing!

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