The Story of Amethyst Gemstones

amethystWhat color is it?: As you can see from the photos at top and left, amethyst can change color in different lighting environments. The top photo was taken in halogen light while the photo at left in fluorescent light. But in general amethyst will run from purple to violet and a wide variety of combinations in between.

What is the story behind this gemstone?: The ancient Greeks believed that wearing an amethyst would keep the wearer from becoming drunk. I am not sure how long it took them to decide differently. But I can tell you that I knew a lot of Greeks (fraternity guys that is) who wore an amethyst class ring when I was in college and believe me, it didn’t work. Amethyst is a member of the quartz family along with citrine, chalcedony and several others.

Can I wear it everyday?: Absolutely. Amethyst is one of the best wearing gemstones there is.

Is it expensive?: Generally, no. But you should look for an amethyst with red flashes as you rotate the stone. The finest will have a deep purple color and flash red when rotated. These can run as high as US$100.00 per carat. But generally, the stone is very affordable, considering the beauty it delivers.

Is it a birthstone?: February

What do I need to know before going shopping?: As you will note from the page on synthetics, there is a lot of synthetic amethyst on the market. And it is very difficult to identify…even for experienced, well trained gemologists. Best bet is to stay with a long established, professional independent jeweler with a trained gemologist on staff. And…get it in writing on your receipt that the stone is natural and not synthetic. Then if you do have a problem you are legally covered for any action you may need to take.

General Information

Source: The Jacobina Mine in Brazil is famous as the best source. But there are others in various parts of the world. However, as shown by the faceted 10.00ct amethyst ring and the huge amethyst cathedrals from Brazil shown above, you can see why Brazil is the finest source of amethyst.

Chemical: SiO2

Formation: Pegmatite dikes and hydrothermal environments

Crystal System: Trigonal

Unusual Properties: None but many possible formations such as ametrine which is a combination of two types of quartz that form in the same crystal.

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