I’ve always loved Amethyst – – the rich purple color just can’t be ignored!
It’s my brother’s birthstone (February) and my Mom had a fabulous Amethyst ring made which I have inherited and wear often. I think of them both whenever I wear it!
Being the bookworm I am, I have 7 – count ’em – 7 authoritative books on gemstones! But don’t worry – – I won’t write a dissertation here, I just want to share some tasty tidbits about these glorious purple stones…
Did you know the name Amethyst means “not drunken?” In ancient Greece, Amethyst was worn as an amulet against drunkenness, and it was believed if you drank wine from a cup carved from Amethyst you could not get drunk. (But Officer…I can’t possibly be drunk – – I was drinking from my Amethyst cup!” I don’t think so!)
Natural Amethyst is one of the many varieties of the mineral Quartz.
In fact, it is the most highly valued stone in the quartz group. It can range in color from bluish purple to purple to reddish purple. According to GIA (Gemological Institute of America,) the finest amethyst color is a strong reddish purple or purple, with no brownish or bronze-colored tints, or any noticeable color zoning when you look at the stone from the top. In general, the darker and more saturated the color, the more valuable the stone. You can learn more about what makes an Amethyst valuable on the GIA website.
Amethyst Quartz is amethyst layered and striped with milky quartz. It is often used for beads, cabochons, and other ornamental objects. (credit: Gemstones of the World, By Walter Schumann.)
One thing to look out for when buying jewelry with Amethyst is that the stone may have been heat treated to enhance the color or clarity.
When you see a stone called Green Amethyst (or Greened Amethyst) it definitely has been heat treated to turn the stone to that beautiful green color. Yellow Citrine can also be created by heating Amethyst.
So, to care for your Amethyst jewelry you’ll want to avoid exposing it to high heat or steam cleaning. It’s also a good idea to avoid long exposure to strong light as this may cause the color to fade in some stones.