Amethyst

Amethyst

Amethyst is the Primary birthstone for the month of February and the Zodiac sign Pisces.

It is understood to be the 9th stone on The Breastplate of Aaron, representing Issachar, one of the sons of Israel.

For thousands of years Amethyst has been incorporated into the lives of many people, being highly valued for its healing properties.

Amethyst Benefits

Mental Health

Amethyst is believed to be very calming and an excellent stone to use when meditating. It should help concentration and clarity of mind, relieving stress and negative influences.

It may also help with general stability, peace of mind and imbue the wearer with a quite inner strength and calm disposition.

Amethyst jewellery is often worn daily to help wearers tune in to their feelings and thoughts, thus helping them remain calm and in control.

Physical Health

Physically, Amethyst is considered to have excellent healing properties. Wear and surround yourself with Amethyst to help strengthen the immune system and promote healing.

Its calming properties will help relieve the symptoms of arthritis, headaches and insomnia, help with addictions, pain relief and general health.

Other Life Benefits

Amethyst is often used through your home and workplace to attract positive energies and remove negative energies.

At home it can be used in bedrooms to aid sleep patterns, and throughout the home to help maintain a calm and positive environment.

In business Amethyst is believed to attract abundance, improving business opportunities and thus profit.

Buying Guide

While Amethyst is no longer considered a Cardinal gemstone, it can still have excellent value. That value is driven primarily by the quality of colour with the deep purple specimens having the higher values. Like all gemstones, natural versus treated, clarity and the quality of the cut are all important factors in the valuation.

Colour

Look for a strong reddish purple or just purple without any muddy brown tones. Because Amethyst can naturally have banding in the colour, check to see if the cutter has eliminated all banding. You don’t want a stone that is too dark. Dark stones often appear almost black under certain lighting.

Lighter coloured stones are generally more affordable, and can be very attractive. Rose de France, a light shade of Amethyst is a very attractive colour and in demand.

Clarity

It is generally not difficult to find eye clean gemstones. But under a loupe inclusions may still appear. Look for eye clean stones preferably, and if you can, check with a loupe to see if there are any inclusions. Mind you, a few minor inclusions in an excellent coloured stone may be acceptable.

Cut

Amethyst can be cut in a wide variety of styles. The style is your choice. However, as with all gemstones, the quality of the cut is of high importance. Most stones in commercial jewellery are production cut. Look for custom cut stones, if you can find them and can afford them. A stone should be brilliant across the entire stone. A dead and dull centre is a certain indicator of a bad cut.

Carats

,Larger Amethyst stones are not necessarily a lot more pricey per carat. Unlike other stones Amethyst can be found in larger specimens so large stones are not that rare.

Natural Versus Manmade

If having a natural stone is important to you, ask for a certificate or have it tested. But don’t do this unless the stone passes all the above. Testing is not cheap.

History of Amethyst

The name Amethyst comes from the Koine Greek word amethystos for “not intoxicate”. This relates to the belief that wearing an Amethyst protected the wearer from drunkenness. The ancient Greeks not only wore amethyst but also carved drinking vessels from it.

Amethyst has been used throughout history for jewellery and many other purposes.

As already mentioned, it was used by the Greeks in jewellery and other ways to prevent intoxication. It was also used by European soldiers in the form of amulets. They believed it would help protect them through its ability to heal and promote calm in their actions.

In the Middle Ages, Amethyst was considered to be a symbol of royalty and consequently was used extensively in the English royal jewels.

Throughout Africa, Asia and Europe it was considered to be one of five most precious gemstones and thus one of the Cardinal gems. The discovery of large deposits in Brazil did however change this perception.

Tibetans make prayer beads from Amethyst as they consider to sacred to Buddah.

Until the 18th century Amethyst was considered to have an extremely high value. However, when the large deposits in places like Brazil were found the value of Amethyst dropped considerably.

Amethyst Gemology

Amethyst is a variety of quartz. The rich violet / purple colour is due to irradiation, either natural or man-made, iron impurities and other trace elements.

It is a semi-precious gemstone commonly used in jewellery. On the Mohs scale of hardness it is about 7, which makes it durable enough for most types of jewellery.

Colour

While the desired colour of Amethyst is that rich purple colour called Deep Siberian, it also comes in all shades from a light violet through to a very dark purple, often exhibiting tones of red and blue.

The very light shade of purple, generally referred to as Rose de France, is now becoming much more desirable.

Amethyst does not come in a green variety. Prasiolite, which is a green variety of quartz, is often referred to incorrectly as Green Amethyst. The correct term of Greened Amethyst refers to Prasiolite.

Natural Amethyst is dichroic, showing as reddish and bluish violet.

Treatments

This gemstone can sometimes be partially heated to produce Ametrine, a variety of quartz that exhibits the colours of both Amethyst and Citrine. If heated further it will result in the yellow-orange to yellow-brown of Citrine, or further to a darker brown similar to Smokey Quartz.

Heating will result in loss of dichroism.

If exposed to strong light sources for a long enough period the colour of Amethyst will fade in tone.

Amethyst can also be treated with radiation to produce a darker shade.

Where Found

Amethyst is found in large quantities in many states in Brazil. It is also found, to various degrees, in places such as Uruguay, South Korea, Austria, Russia, India, Zambia, United States, Canada and more.

Physical Properties

PropertyValuePropertyValue
Category:Silicate mineral Lustre:
Vitreous / glassy
Colour:Purple, violetSpecific Gravity:2.65
Crystal System: Trigonal Refractive Index:1.543
Crystal Class: Trapezohedral Pleochroism: None
Crystal Habit: 6 sided prism terminating in 6 sided pyramid Melting Point: 1650±75 °C
Cleavage:None
Fracture:Conchoidal
Mohs Scale:7

IMAGE CREDITS: Amethyst Crystals – JJ Harrison (jjharrison89@facebook.com) [GFDL 1.2 or CC BY-SA 3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

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