What Is Amethyst
Amethyst is a variety of quartz that is basically of violet color. However the color may range from light pinkish violet to deep purple.
The accepted ideal is called “Deep Siberian” that has mainly purple color with minor parts of the blue and red spectrum.
Amethyst was considered the most precious stone within the quartz family until large deposits were found and the grading of Amethyst went from precious to semi-precious. As purple is considered to be a royal color, this gemstone was a favorite amongst high ranking royals, and also Christian leaders.
The name stems from ancient Greek, meaning “not intoxicated”. In ancient Greece drinking bowls were made from Amethyst and believed to prevent intoxication.
It has been used as decorative item and jewelry since ancient history.
If overexposed to light, the color of Amethyst can fade. The color may also be artificially darkened by exposing it to ionizing radiation.
Ionizing radiation is a process where the structure of the base material is altered in order to change it’s properties.
Irradiation that brings about the color of Amethyst is also occurring naturally. It is a natural process where silicon is substituted by iron-containing material in the structure. Also various trace elements are present.
The quartz crystal is normally colorless, but impurities will give it various colors depending on the material introduced.
So, the various, beautiful colors of gemstones based on quartz is actually defects in the crystal structure, or so-called color centers.
There also exists a green variation of quartz which is wrongfully known as green Amethyst. It should rightfully be called Prasiolite, Vermarine or Lime Citrine and is a result of heat-treated Amethyst.
How Is Amethyst Formed
There is no absolute conclusive scientific proof of how Amethyst geodes are formed, probably because there has been little interest to research this particular formation called geodes which, in essence, are rocks that contains various types of crystals within.
However, there is little doubt that there must be a cavity in the rock formation to allow crystals to form within the rock.
Usually the hollow rock is a result of magma coming up to the Earth’s surface with gas bubbles trapped inside the cooling lava.
Amethyst can therefore be found anywhere on Earth where magma, or lava, has penetrated the surface.
Over time, the gas, or steam, is leaving the cavity through developed cracks in the hardened lava and silica rich liquid is entering. Traces of iron is also present, either in the liquid or in the rock itself, and as the liquid slowly is evaporating from the cavity the silica with impurities, in this case mainly iron, is beginning to form crystals, which mainly due to the iron content, will have a purplish color.
There has also been found Amethyst crystals formed as stalactites, i.e. they form at the roof of a cave where silica rich water start dripping, each drop will contribute to the building up of a deposit of crystals.
When the water also contains iron, the resulting stalactite crystals will have a purple color. This process may go on for millions of years and build up sizeable columns of Amethyst crystals.
Where Can It Be Found
The largest deposits of Amethyst is found in Brazil, but they can be found in many areas around the world like Argentina, Austria, Australia, Bolivia, Canada, Germany, India, Madagascar, Mexico, Myanmar, Namibia, Russia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, USA and Zambia.
Uruguay is also a major producer of Amethyst crystals, and is the only significant area where Amethysts formed as stalactites are found.
Zambia, in Africa, is one of the largest producers at present, with an annual output of about 1,000 ton.
The largest Amethyst found was in Mexico which is said to have been 33 by 16 by 10 feet and weighing over 8 tons.
Otherwise large Amethysts weighing in the range of 700 carats have been found and are considered to be amongst the unusual large ones.
Synthetic Amethysts can, however, be produced in larger sizes.
Natural Amethysts can be found in thousands of locations around the world but in small quantities in many areas.
The recent development of synthetic Amethyst has led to products that are similar to the natural stones with regards to both chemical and physical properties and can be difficult to distinguish from the natural ones by non-gemmologists.
You may sometimes find these offered as natural stones and only advanced gemmological testing can reveal whether or not the stone offered is natural grown or synthetic.
Very nice imitation Amethysts can be found at suppliers of beads for the fashion jewelry industry like
Firemountain Gems & Beads among many others.
One of the most significant manufacturers of crystal beads is the Austrian crystal gem company
The quality is very good, the beads keep their color and shine for a long time and the price is very reasonable.
Serious suppliers of imitation stones, like those mentioned above, state clearly that these stones are imitations.
What Is The Value Of Amethyst
Amethyst was regarded as one of the most precious gemstones and in the class of Diamond, Sapphire and Emerald until the 18th century.
Due to discovery of very large deposits in Brazil and some other areas, it has been declassified, by many, to a semi-precious gemstone and its value has dropped.
However, quality Amethyst gems has seen an increase of abt 80% since 2005 and the trend looks set to further increase.
To invest in Amethyst, or other gems may not be such a bad idea, but uncertainty is there, of course, as in most types of gems and jewelry items, it largely depends on shifting fashion and collector’s preferences.
Abt US $7 – US $55 per carat depending on the shade of purple, the darker the color is, the higher the value.
Actually you may find very pale colored Amethyst at below US $1 per carat when bought in larger quantities.
The value depends on the collectors preferences and the so-called “Deep Russian” Amethyst is very rare and therefore demands a higher price than the more standard grade specimens.
The price also depends on the cutting of the gemstone.
Some of the standard cuttings for gemstones.
Below are a few samples of high quality grades and types with estimated prices/carat from Africa Gems.
To see more details, click on the images.
As the supply of normal grade stones in both small and large sizes is plentiful, the price per carat doesn’t increase exponentially with increasing size, to the same extent as with some other gemstones.
Examples of imitation Amethyst from Fire Mountain Gems.
|Cut||Size||Price US$ Depending on quantity||Comments|
Examples of crystal beads as Amethyst crystal imitations from SWAROVSKI, as marketed by Fire Mountain Gems among many other suppliers of fashion jewelry beading equipment and parts.
|Oval||30x22mm|| Foil back
More information on these type of stones from Swarovski can be found on their website by clicking on SWAROVSKI
Amethyst is said to cure headaches, to rectify blood sugar imbalance, brain imbalances, gives inner peace, gives psychic insight, stimulates third eye and internal surrender.
Third eye, or inner eye, is believed to be an invisible eye providing perception beyond ordinary eye sight.
In Hinduism it is believed that humans actually had a third eye at the back of the head which had both a spiritual and physical function, but as the humans became less and less spiritual inclined the third eye was reduced to what is known as the pineal gland which is a small gland, abt 5-8mm, in the vertebrate brain, which can affect many functions of the body.
There are numerous religious and spiritual beliefs connected to Amethyst.
But above all it was thought to prevent drunkenness and help to cure the “day after” effects of a larger consumption of intoxicating substances.
Some also believed that Amethyst protected against evil sorcery and brought success and good luck. It was said to reveal hidden knowledge and help against insomnia and nightmares.
If you wear Amethyst jewelry, or you meditate holding a piece of Amethyst, your mood will become better.
It can be used to attract love and happiness (as most jewelry would……).
It can help with hearing problems and can relieve problems such as arthritis and back problems. It can help with disorders of the digestive system, nervous system, heart, stomach and teeth.
The believers of crystal energy’s healing capacities, regard Amethyst as a tool to increase our awareness of higher realms of reality, or higher levels of consciousness, enhances our meditation and connects us with our higher self.
You will find numerous beliefs connected to the gemstone Amethyst if you search the internet,