Amethyst is a beautiful, purple stone that is used to create rings, pendants, earrings and other jewelry items. In 1912, the American National Association of Jewelers adopted amethyst as the official birthstone for the month of February. In the Zodiac, amethyst is the birthstone for Pices. As a gift, it is suggested that amethyst is a wedding anniversary gift for fourth, sixth, and seventeenth wedding anniversaries.
Why is Amethyst Purple?
Amethyst is purple quartz and is considered to be the most valued stone in the quartz family. Although it must be purple in order to be an amethyst, it can be a range of different purple shades, from lavender to light lilac to deep purple. High quality amethyst is a deep-medium purple colored with flashes of rose. Because royalty is denoted by purple, the amethyst was once a stone that was worn by kings and queens. Amethyst owes its purple coloring to irradiation, the presence of trace elements, and iron impurities. Because the hardness of the mineral is the same as the hardness of quartz, it is a top gem for making jewelry.
Amethyst gemstones on today’s market are heat-treated. This type of heat-treatment makes the amethyst produce a deeper purple shade. These shades will not fade over time, and heat treating is permanent. Unless you know differently, any stone that is being advertised as amethyst today has been through the heat-treating process. It is also notable that the citrine that is on today’s market is essentially heat-treated amethyst.
Amethyst throughout History
Throughout time, folklore has developed around the amethyst gem. It is said that amethyst is useful in guarding against drunkenness and that it is also a helpful part of fighting addiction. In fact, the Romans and ancient Greeks wore amethyst to prevent intoxication. Amethyst has been used for centuries to combat health problems like insomnia, hearing disorders, pain and headaches. It is also thought that amethyst can work to stabilize mental conditions.
Europeans wore amethyst in battle because it was through that amulets fashioned from amethyst would protect them in battle, keep them cool-headed and heal their injuries. Anglo-Saxon graves in England show evidence of this love of amethyst with the inclusion of amethyst beads with the dead.
According to legend, wearing amethyst can make the wearer amiable and gentle. Amethyst’s other powers include influencing dreams, peace, spirituality, happiness, healing, love, and courage. Amethyst was valued even in ancient times, when it was cut into sculpted form and engraved. It was made into amethyst cups, and even spoken of in an ancient Grecian saga where Diana turns a nymph into an amethyst.
Where is Amethyst Found?
Amethyst is found in abundant supply in Brazil, where it is located with volcanic rocks in large geodes. Uruguay and Brazil also are big producers of amethyst. The largest vein of amethyst in the world is found in Austria. Some locations in the U.S. have proven to be rich in amethyst deposits, including parts of Arizona, California, Michigan, Texas, and Colorado. Thunder Bay, Ontario, is home to the largest North American amethyst mine. Amethyst can be created synthetically, and is so similar to the real thing that it requires advanced testing procedures to differentiate between the two.
Value of Amethyst
Once considered a cardinal gemstone, the discovery of large deposits around the world in the 18th century really brought down its value, although amethyst is still revered for its beautiful color. Those who collect amethyst look for stones with deep color and flashes of red. Deep Russian amethyst is the highest possible grade of amethyst, and it is quite rare.