The gem in spotlight this month is the amethyst, one of the most sought after gemstone in the jewellery industry.

May 06 2015 0 Comments Tags: amethyst, birthstone, buying, cut, February, gemological, gemstone, information, price, properties, purple, sources, value

amethyst-gemstones-fancy-cutsOnce considered the gem of royalty and insignia of power, the Amethyst is an example of a gemstone that kept it’s popularity over the passing of the years. Fine amethysts have been set in many royal collections from the Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra’s to the European houses. Although it’s rarity decreased significantly in the last century, the stone has never gone out of fashion.

Once upon a time, Amethyst was more valuable than Sapphires or Rubies and valued equally with diamonds. The gem was coveted by many royals, like the Russian empress, Catherine the Great and worn on Bishops’ rings.
After the great finds in South America in the nineteenth century, especially in Brazil, its rarity decreased, so did its price and the gem became more affordable. As a great example; the amethyst bracelet of Queen Charlotte of England - very famous jewellery at the beginning of the 18th century - was valued at 2000 pounds sterling at that time and worth only 100 pounds 200 years later.

In modern times, Amethyst keep it’s  space and popularity in the jewellery industry. It is the most commercially important gem-quality quartz variety!

Here are some information I have gathered about the beautiful purple stone. I hope you will enjoy it.

 

 

 

Identifying Amethysts

 Amethysts Gemological Properties:

Amethyst is the violet-purple variety of  the Quartz family  (SiO2) and it is the most precious and valuable stone from it.

Chemical: SiO2 - Silicon dioxide

Formation: Pegmatite dikes and hydrothermal environments

Crystal System: Trigonal

Crystal Habitat: 6-sided prism ending in 6-sided pyramid

Hardness: 7 on the Mohs scale

Unusual Properties: None. Possible formations like ametrine

Refractive Index: 1.544 - 1.553

Density: 2.65

Transparency: Transparent to semi-translucent

Luster: Vitreous / glossy

 

 

Amethyst-Origin-Gemstone-Sources 

 

Amethyst Origin and Gemstone Sources:

 

Amethysts are likely to be discovered in lining agate almonds and druses in igneous rocks. In 1900, the largest almond was discovered in the Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul and South America became the main producer of this gem in the world. It is known that a great number of Agates in Brazil and Uruguay contain Amethyst crystals.

 

Amethysts are also found in abundance in the state of Minas Gerais, where Gemstones Brazil was born! In our state it occurs in big Geodes inside volcanic rocks. In the country, you can also dig up amethysts in the states: Rio Grande do Sul, Mato Grosso, Espirito Santo, Bahia, and Ceará.

 

The third most important exporter in the world is Madagascar following by South Korea, Austria, Russia (famous for it’s magnificent colours), South India, Zambia, United States (Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan) and in the Canadian provinces of Ontario (largest amethyst mine in North America) and Nova Scotia.

 

 

Amethyst in History & the most famous stones!

 

Amethyst name comes from the Greek améthystos - not intoxicated; a belief that the gem would protect its owner from drunkenness. We have a great article written by the jewellery blogger Katerina Perez, where she explains the reasons for it. Why not to check the Legends of the Amethysts - February’s Stone.
It is known that Amethysts were used as a gemstone by the Egyptians, the Greeks, medieval European soldiers (as amulets to protection in battle), Anglo-Saxon graves in England and by the Christian bishops - who wore an episcopal ring often set with the purple gemstone. Pliny used a gem of Amethyst as a protection against snakebites.

 

 

Over hundred of years, amethysts were adored, specially by Queens and Princess ...

 

 Alexandra-Denmark-amethyst-tiar

 

 

 

Alexandra of Denmark, Queen consort of King Edward VII, wearing her Amethyst Tiar

 

 

 

 

Queen-Mary-Amethyst-Parure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Queen Mary's Amethyst Parure

 

 

 

 

 

Duchess-Windsor-amethyst-necklace

 

 

Duchess of Windsor at the Gala à l'Orangerie ball at the Château de Versailles,
in June 1953.

 

 

 

 

 

 


Sweden-queen-Silvia-amethyst-set

        Sweden’s queen Silvia

 

 

 

 

 

Queen-Sonje-Amethyst-Parure -Crown-Princess-Mette-Marit-Norway 

 

 

 

 

Queen Sonje's Amethyst Parure worn by HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This set of amethysts was originally owned by Napoleons first wife, Empress Josphine. She left it to her son, Eugne de Beauharnais, whose daughter, Josephine of Leuchtenberg, became queen of Sweden. The younger Josephine brought a treasure trove of her grandmothers jewels with her to Sweden, including these amethysts tiara.

 

 

 

 

A buyer’s guide  - How to determine the Amethyst value?

 

  

  1. Amethyst Colour

The most important feature to determine the Amethyst value is the colour.   The desired colour in an amethyst gemstone is a great reddish purple; a strong and saturated hue, not too dark, not too light.... Brownish and zoning shades are often avoided. The most common amethyst occurs in light violet and deep purple. Additionally, it can occur with a red or blue hue.

The colour of amethyst, once attributed to the presence of manganese, is now known as a result of iron and aluminum impurities, connected to a natural radiation. Without those elements, amethyst would be transparent, a colorless quartz.

 

 

 

 

 

Ametrine is a variation of amethyst; the nature bicoloured stones masterwork! That  occurs due to iron introducing violet areas to the yellow citrine.

 

 

 

 

 

Green quartz is also called green amethyst.

It is the green variation of the mineral quartz and it’s correct nomenclature is Prasiolite.

 

 

 

 

  1. Amethyst Clarity and Luster

 

We can find a substantial number of amethysts eye-clean - the finest quality of these gems - in the market nowadays.

Brazilian amethysts are in general more clear than African ones. However, the saturated colour of the African amethysts makes it more accepted in the jewellery industry.  

Amethysts with Inclusions are often used to produce cabochons and beads.

The Amethyst luster - the way the light interacts with it’s surface - is vitreous, resembling glass.

 

 

 

  1. Amethyst Cut and Shape

You can find amethysts cut in the most diverse shape and styles - traditional and modern ones (fantasy or designing cuts). Traditionally, it was cut in brilliant rounds and oval to maximize the colour. However, nowadays, amethysts have been extensively used in freeform shapes and ornamental carvings. Here, at Gemstones Brazil, we are always investing time and resources to innovate and create innovative gem cutting styles.

 

  1. Carat / weight

Amethyst are commonly found in great sizes. Due to this characteristic, the amethyst value per carat, unlike many other gems, doesn't rise exponentially with weight.

 

  1. Amethyst Treatment

Normally, amethysts are not treated. Heat treatment sometimes is applied to enhance the colour and irradiation to transform pale stones in citrines or Praseolites. If you want to know more about stones treatments, please find here a very instructional post I wrote about treatments here.

 

 

February’s Birthstone and 6th Wedding Anniversary

Amethyst is the zodiac stone for Pisces and the modern february’s birthstone. The gem is also the anniversary gemstone for 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.

 

  

Amethyst Meaning & Properties

 Amethyst is believed to be a calming and cleansing stone which works in the emotional and spiritual levels providing balance, patience and peace. It is recommended for meditation, crystal healing, personal losses and grief. It is generally associated with the third eye and crown chakras.

 In ancient times, a great number of powers were attributed to amethysts. It was said to protect crops against tempests and locusts, bring good fortune in war and in the hunt, drive out evil spirits, inspire the intellect and afford protection against snakebite.

 The gem is also known to bring prosperity and abundance. Thus, used as beneficial when dealing with legal problems and money issues.

 


Amethyst Caring and Cleaning

 

Amethysts should be cleaned with warm water and a mild soap. Ultrasonic cleaners are safe except in case the stone is dyed or treated by fracture filling. Steam cleaning is not recommended.

Be careful with harsh household chemicals - hydrofluoric acid, ammonium fluoride, and alkaline solutions - and extreme exposure to heat - abrupt temperature changes can cause amethyst to fracture.

 Amethyst is ranking of 7 on the Mohs scale. It means that amethyst is a durable jewelry gem as long as precautions are followed to prevent scratching. Don’t store the gem with other gemstones in order to avoid scratches on it.

 

 

 

 

Gemstones Brazil
Finest quality Amethysts

Gemstones Brazil’s amethysts are mined at our own mine and in our neighbours in the north of the Brazilian state of Minas Gerais. The gems are cut in Minas Gerais and Jaipur, India. Our natural amethysts are mainly loupe clean - please check the clarity information of each gem. We work with both traditional and contemporary designs and cuts, always ensuring a fine and brilliant finish.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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