Amethyst Gemstone Guide
An Introduction to Amethyst
Amethyst is known for its striking violet color that can range from light lilac to very deep purple with red undertones. It is safe to say that the reason amethyst is so popular is because of the unique purple hues and tones it can have. The darker the purple, the more desirable the amethyst. It is a special shade of purple because the color is created from different imperfections within the quartz. The colors in amethyst can vary since the coloring is created when iron replaces silicone in the crystal's structure through the irradiation process.
Amethyst is most commonly associated with jagged clusters and geodes but has been an increasingly popular choice for jewelry in recent years. It is the gemstone for February and is fairly affordable when compared to other gemstones.
With a rating of 7 on Mohs scale, the amethyst is considerably durable and appropriate for daily or frequent wear. When it comes to using amethyst in jewelry, it is found in more casual pieces. However, if you or the person you love favors amethyst over other gems, you can even get amethyst engagement rings.
Amethyst Shapes and Cuts
When buying amethyst, the most common shape you will find is a raw geode or cluster with spikes and peaks. In jewelry, the most common cut is an elongated variety of the round brilliant cut, the oval cut. If this isn’t your preferred cut, you can get amethyst in almost any other cut that suits your needs.
The oval cut enhances the amethyst and how it is presented, which is why it's the most common cut. The oval allows the gemstone to appear much larger than it would if it were a simple circle. It highlights the way that light hits the stone and showcases the purple.
Amethyst comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Some of the largest amethyst ever found were a staggering 22 feet tall, and 26,000 pounds. It is safe to say that no matter how big or small you would like your gemstone to be, you will be able to find it.
Due to amethyst being so large, it is easy to find high-quality amethysts in larger shapes, cuts, and sizes. This isn't always the case with other gemstones.
The most sought-after shade of amethyst is the darker, deeper shade of purple. These darker shades are known as Siberian Amethysts and are generally considered to be more valuable and of higher quality. When looking for an amethyst, carefully inspect the gemstone for any visible color zoning.
Color zoning is when you can see noticeable changes in the color throughout the amethyst. You want the stone to be saturated with a dark purple with reddish hues. An amethyst that has one specific shade of amethyst throughout the stone is likely fake. However, while people search for deep purple shades, they still want the stone to remain as bright as possible. No one wants to take home an amethyst so dark that it looks black. You want your amethyst to shine purple even on the darkest nights. Generally speaking, the deeper the purple, the higher the quality, and the more expensive the amethyst.
Amethysts, like many other gemstones, can have inclusions. These inclusions are often very small imperfections that are not that noticeable. The majority of amethysts are often considered eye-clean, which means that imperfections and flaws aren’t usually visible from the naked eye, even though they do exist.
A real amethyst will have some signs of wear and tear especially if it is older. When it comes to value, color is more important than flaws. A good-colored amethyst with flaws will always be worth more than a perfect amethyst with an off-color.
Naturally occurring amethysts are primarily mined in Siberia. This is where you will find some of the richest purple tones in the world. Other countries include Sri Lanka, Brazil, and Uruguay.
One of the most sought-after tones of amethyst is called “Deep Siberian,” hence why some of the best amethyst is found in Siberia. However, some of the finest amethyst in the world have also come out of different parts of Africa such as Zambia, Tanzania and Namibia.
In general, amethyst is not hard to come by. With that said, the highest-grade amethyst “Deep Siberian” is exceptionally rare, and its value is dependent on the current demand from collectors.
Amethyst isn’t always certified, but when looking to purchase any gemstone, ensuring that it is certified is the first step. One of the most reputable organizations for gemstone certification is the GIA.
Lab-grown amethysts are not that common but they do exist. They are essentially the same as naturally grown amethysts but they have a few differences. For starters, they usually look perfect and this can be good or bad. One of the appealing aspects of amethyst is how unique and wild it can look. A lab-grown amethyst will be uniform in shape and color, and it won’t have any flaws or inclusions like a naturally grown amethyst would have.
The majority of reputable jewelers will be open and honest about where they sourced their gemstones. However, to put all doubt to rest, ensure you ask for any certification they offer. The jeweler should also be able to tell you the grading of that stone and any other details that you would like to know.
Many gemstones undergo treatment to enhance their brightness, their color, and to remove or repair flaws/inclusions. Amethyst is no exception and frequently receives treatment. The majority of amethysts actually receive some sort of treatment in their lifetime.
Amethysts usually undergo heat treatment and irradiation. Heating the gemstone is the most common practice, it is used to change the color of the stone. Heating the stone can either lighten, darken, or completely change the color. Additionally, heat treatment can also remove or reduce the visibility of flaws which will make the stone appear to have more clarity.
While these treatments are not bulletproof, with the right care and attention paid to the stone, they can usually last the lifetime of the stone. Heat treatment does not mean the stone isn’t natural though, and most amethyst will undergo heat treatment before being sold.
When looking to buy an amethyst, you will find out very quickly that there is no standard grading system. Typically, amethysts will be sold in three grades, but each seller will have a different way of going about it or representing it. In general, the grading is based on the color.
AA grading represents light or medium purple color with lots of inclusions. Natural AAA is medium dark purple with minimal inclusions. Natural AAAA will have a deep dark purple color that is eye-clean and usually with a brilliant cut. These are often used in fine jewelry.
Tips for Purchasing Amethyst
If you are in the market for an amethyst, it can be slightly overwhelming. Here are some tips to help make the purchase easier. Start with your budget. Amethyst isn’t a diamond and therefore the pricing of an amethyst should be slightly more budget-friendly than a more expensive gemstone. However, if you are looking for a rare one, it can get pricey so keep that in mind.
Once you have your budget decided on, select a shape. This will be one of the most important aspects of the purchase because it is one of the most defining features. Last but not least, make sure the quality is high. Even an amethyst that isn’t considered rare should be of high quality. The fewer inclusions the better. Always buy from a reputable shop that will provide you with certifications and a good refund policy if you are not happy with it.
What is amethyst good for?
In the past, amethyst was said to help with anxiety and stress as well as fatigue, and headaches. There’s no scientific backing to support these claims. But we can assure you that amethyst is certainly good for use in a variety of fine jewelry.
What is the best amethyst color?
The best amethyst color is a deep purple known as Deep Siberian.
Which metal best suits an amethyst?
For modern pieces, amethyst looks better with silver, sterling, or white gold. For more classic or vintage pieces, amethyst pairs beautifully with rose gold and yellow gold. It is one of the gemstones that can blend with all metals quite beautifully.
Is amethyst a rare gem?
Amethyst is not a rare gem. However, the color “Deep Siberian” is quite rare.