This colorful quartz has been one of the most prized gemstones for centuries. This lively quartz stone varies in color from no distinguishable color to light lavender, to a rich deep purple.
What is the Meaning of Amethyst?
According to Ancient Greek mythology, this gemstone was said to be dyed by the tears of the god Dionysus. Though the tale was a bit convoluted, the stone was ultimately identified with the concept of purity. According to myth the god Dionysus, known for his fondness of drink, was seeking an object upon which to vent his frustration when a young girl crossed his path.
The maiden was on her way to worship at the temple of the goddess Diana. When the young woman cried out to the goddess for help, the goddess turned her into a quartz, a shimmering white stone.
When the drunken Dionysus realized what he had done, he began crying into his goblet of wine. This caused the goblet to overturn. The red wine in the god’s cup ran over the stone and was believed to dye the quartz purple.
The Symbolism of Amethyst
The amethyst has been used in royal jewelry across the centuries as the color purple has been used to symbolize royalty. You can find stunning examples of this purple quartz in the royal jewels worn by the English monarchy. There are also exceptional examples of these stones in the collections of Bavarian, Norwegian, and Luxembourg royal jewelry collections.
Those of the Christian faith have also used the amethyst as a symbol. Believed to symbolize Christ, the amethyst has been worn historically in Bishop rings.
The Four C’s:
If you are a jewelry fan, you will likely realize that the Four C’s of Carat, Cut, Color, and Clarity can have a huge impact on the value of many stones. As with other stones, the Four C’s are important when discussing amethyst jewelry. However, these elements don’t work for this beautiful gem exactly as they do for other stones.
The color of amethyst can vary widely. Ranging from visibly clear to deep purple, this special stone may also appear to have tints of bronze or brown. These tints can have a huge impact on the value of your purple quartz stone.
Another thing to look for with color in your amethyst is color zoning. Noticeable differences in color across the body of the stone, or color zones, will greatly reduce the value of an amethyst.
Although clarity can have an impact on the value of your amethyst, so long as inclusions are indistinguishable to the naked eye, they will not greatly reduce the value of your stone. Indeed, color is more important in determining the value of this particular gem than minor flaws. Even with minor undistinguishable flaws, an amethyst with good color will retain most of its value.
Amethyst can be cut into a wide variety of shapes. As this is the case, you will be almost guaranteed to find a stone to fit your personal style. You will find these gemstones cut into standard shapes like rounds, pears, ovals, and cushions.
You will also find purple quartz cut into faceted patterns referred to as brilliant cuts. And, if you are exceptionally adventurous, it is possible to find this special stone cut into one-of-a-kind shapes.
Carat weight is always of importance in the discussion of gemstones. This stunning gemstone is often chosen as a center stone in jewelry as the cost of an amethyst does not increase in cost as dramatically with size as many other gemstones. Like other semi-precious gemstones, a large amethyst will be noticeably more cost-effective than precious stones like diamonds, rubies, sapphires, and emeralds.
Where is Natural Amethyst Found?
Natural amethyst is found inside geodes. Growing as crystals within these hollow rocks, these purple gems can be found the world over. However, the largest amethyst geodes tend to come from South America. It should also be noted that the darkest natural gems are generally found in Australia.
How is Amethyst Graded?
Whether you are born in the month of February or are just a fan of this engaging purple gemstone, you will want to understand how amethysts are graded for quality.
Amethysts gemstones typically fall under a AAAA to B grading system.
It is extremely rare to find an amethyst with this rating. Only 1% of all amethysts can be expected to fall under this category. These stones will have no inclusions visible to the naked eye. Considered heirloom quality, these much sought after gemstones will have a distinctly dark purple hue.
You can expect to find only 10% of amethyst to fall into this category. These exceptional gemstones will have no visible flaws and a medium to dark purple color.
Approximately 33% of amethyst on the market will fall into this category. You can expect to find slight inclusions in these medium purple gemstones.
Still considered good, these light purple amethysts can be expected to have slight to moderate inclusions.
There are also amethysts with a B grading, but we do not recommend B grade amethysts to be set in jewelry. They have obvious inclusions, and its color would have hues of grey and/or brown. B grade amethysts are usually chosen to be cut into cabochons, or beads. However, there are circumstances where it can be treated to have a richer purple color.