Purple – combining the passion of red and the calm of blue – conveys balance and bliss, and a hint of mystery. Those of us who love it see it as a powerful color. Think of the purple robes and amethyst jewels of royalty. Amethyst was once up there with diamonds, emeralds, and rubies in rarity and preciousness, and thus was considered crown jewels material. Then in the early 19th century, a large deposit was discovered in Brazil and suddenly, supply and demand being what it is, amethysts became more plentiful and less valuable. We see that as a plus – amethysts haven’t changed. If anything, they are better with more from which to choose. But now they’re not just for royalty and the wealthy but are readily available to all of us!
Color is the sublimely beautiful main attraction of the amethyst. It is always purple, but can range from a light lavender or even purplish pink to very dark, almost black purple, and also reddish to a more bluish hue. Hue, tone, and saturation determine the color quality. Hue is the basic color (i.e., reddish purple); tone is the darkness or lightness; saturation is the amount or intensity of the color, or what Bob Argo calls “juiciness”. Stones fetching higher prices are medium to dark but not too dark, slightly reddish purple and highly saturated. However, some prefer the lighter, more delicate pastels, which are very lovely in their own right.
Amethysts also tend to have relatively high clarity. Most on the jewelry market today are eye-clean, meaning we can’t see inclusions with the naked eye. Usually, the only reliable way to differentiate between natural and lab-grown amethysts is to examine them with a microscope. Natural generally have distinctive inclusions and lab-grown often none. Jewelers often use lab-grown amethysts for pieces with many small stones or beads that need to be matched, which is harder and more expensive to do with natural stones.
7 in hardness on the Mohs scale, amethyst is pretty durable, and we use it in engagement rings and other jewelry that is worn often. It is easily carved and lends itself to fanciful creative cuts and sculptural carvings.
More amazing amethyst facts:
- The name amethyst is from the old Greek “amethustos” or “to be serious, sensible and calm.” The ancient Greeks sometimes drank out of amethyst goblets because the gem was thought to prevent drunkenness, even with copious consumption!
- It’s the birthstone for February, the month of Valentine’s Day. St. Valentine himself was supposed to have worn an amethyst ring carved with a Cupid.
- Examples of amethyst religious significance: 1) Each of the 12 tribes of Israel has a gemstone associated with it. That of Gad is amethyst; 2) Likewise, each of the 12 Apostles – the Apostle Matthew’s stone is amethyst; 3) Christian bishop’s rings are set with amethysts. (These are now becoming a fashion statement outside the Church.), and 4) Buddhists use prayer beads of amethyst because of its association with meditation, calmness, and spirituality.
- Amethyst is the most popular and valuable of the quartz family of gemstones. Citrine is its yellow-orange quartz cousin, and sometimes when they are found together and cut properly, they become ametrine, a dual-color stone. Ametrine comes almost exclusively from one mine in southeastern Bolivia.
- Sometimes, amethyst crystals grow inside a cavity in a rock formation, making a geode. We’ve all seen them, but did you know that some are enormous, even large enough for a person to stand inside?
Some of Argo & Lehne’s amazing amethysts:
This vintage amethyst ring is a prime example of a high-quality large stone for a fraction of the cost of, say, a sapphire, and it’s just as beautiful! Here you see it atop an amethyst geode fragment.
Our delicate Victorian brooch contains seed pearls, small diamonds, and richly colored amethysts.
Here, a cushion shaped checkerboard faceted amethyst is surrounded by diamonds in this gorgeous new addition to our inventory.
Amethysts combine well with other gems, as in these adorable vintage aquamarine, garnet, pearl, peridot and amethyst earrings.
The luscious highly saturated, moderately dark purple amethyst, shows flashes of blue and reddish pink when moved. This amethyst pendant is a lot of very affordable gorgeousness!
Come in and browse our beautiful amethyst jewelry collection. Or, see it online here.
Make your purchase count!
Join us for a celebration Wednesday, March 20, 5 – 7 PM, in honor of Amethyst, the local affiliate of Alvis, Inc., helping women with substance abuse recovery and their families. For 2 hours only, receive 10% off all in-stock jewelry purchases and we will also donate 10% to Amethyst! In addition, throughout March, we will donate 10% of all amethyst jewelry and sterling silver jewelry purchases to Amethyst. Learn more about this amazing event.
Read about the Amethyst program.