Amethyst, the birthstone of February, is a valuable stone belonging to the quartz family. Its colour ranges from light pink to a deep purple, and it gets its colour due to iron and aluminum impurities.
This widely popular stone has an interesting bit of mythology associated with it, and is also believed to have soothing and healing powers. Read on to find out all you ever wanted to know about amethysts:
Amethyst derives its name from the Greek word ‘ametusthos’, which means “not intoxicated”. Legend has it that wine God Bacchus, furious over an insult, declared that the first person he would meet would be eaten by tigers. It so happened that the unfortunate mortal was a girl named Amethyst, who was on her way to the shrine of Diana. As the beasts attacked her, she sought the help of the goddess, who turned her into a clear, white crystal. Later, Bacchus, regretting his decision, poured the juices of his grapes over the crystal, which gave it its beautiful purple hue.
Amethysts occur in large quantities within volcanic rocks in Brazil, where it is mined in abundance. Uruguay, Rio Grande do Sul and Artigas all produce large quantities of amethysts. The stone also occurs in many localities in the United States. Some of the high producing areas include Arizona, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Yellowstone National Park.
Amethysts are known to strengthen the immune system and reduce pain and swelling. They also boost production of hormones and support oxygenation in blood. The stone is especially believed to relieve stress and support one’s emotional balance. It calms those who are easily angered and eases mental anxiety and tension.
Being hard and durable, amethyst is ideal for all types of jewellery. It is highly resistant to wear and tear. Amethyst stones are worn as necklaces, rings and pendants. The stone is popular among jewellers because of its large sizes and shapes available.
Buying Amethyst and Determining its Value:
The following factors must be considered before buying amethysts:
The deep violet coloured amethysts are most valuable. The colours of amethysts range from purple or violet to pale red violet. Siberian deep purple amethyst is most expensive.
2. Clarity and Lustre
The best quality amethyst is free of any visible inclusions. Fine amethysts are transparent, while translucent ones allow slightly less passage of light through them. It is best to buy fine, clear amethyst, given its abundance.
3. Cut and Shape
Amethyst is often cut as brilliant ovals or rounds to maximize its colour. It is available in almost every shape, cut and size. There are also many amethyst carvings available as many artists prefer to cut ornamental carvings with the stone.
Heat treatment reduces colouring agents in amethysts, and jewellers are supposed to disclose enhancements. Heat treatment generally yields green, red-brown, light-yellow or colourless stones.