Amethyst Overview

Amethyst is a semiprecious stone that is often used in jewelry and is the traditional birthstone for February.Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglio engraved gems.Amethyst is crystalline quartz in colors ranging from pale lilac to deep reddish purple. With a relatively high hardness of 7, the February birthstone is a fine facetable jewelry gem for all purposes. Lower grades of material can be cabbed, carved, and made into a great variety of beads and other ornamental objects.

Occurence and Mining

Amethyst occurs in primary hues from a light lavender or pale violet, to a deep purple. Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and blue.[5] High quality amethyst can be found in Siberia, Sri Lanka, Brazil, Uruguay, and the Far East. The ideal grade is called “Deep Siberian” and has a primary purple hue of around 75–80%, with 15–20% blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues.[6] ‘Rose de France’ is defined by its markedly light shade of the purple, reminiscent of a lavender/lilac shade. These pale colors were once considered undesirable but have recently become popular due to intensive marketing.[7] Green quartz is sometimes incorrectly called green amethyst, which is a misnomer and not an appropriate name for the material, the proper terminology being prasiolite.[8] Other names for green quartz are vermarine or lime citrine

Quality Factors

The finest amethyst color is a strong reddish purple or purple with no visible color zoning. Dealers prefer strongly saturated reddish purple to dark purple, as long as the stone is not so dark that it reduces brightness.

In Emerald expect to see inclusions that dealers like to call an internal “jardin,” or garden Much of the faceted amethyst in the market is eye-clean, meaning it lacks eye-visible inclusions. African material, especially from Zambia, can be a highly saturated raspberry color. It tends to have more inclusions than Brazilian material. However, due to its remarkable color, this is considered acceptable in a faceted stone. Eye-clean material of the same color is more valuable.

Amethyst is cut into a variety of standard shapes and cutting styles. These include rounds, ovals, pears, emerald cuts, triangles, marquises, cushions, and others. Facet patterns include the classic triangular and kite-shaped facet arrangements called brilliant cuts, rows of concentric parallel facets called step cuts, and mixed cuts that combine both facet arrangements.
Amethyst is available in all size ranges for setting into a variety of jewelry styles. It’s popular as a large center stone since the price per carat does not rise dramatically with larger size. Amethyst is also commonly found in calibrated cuts, which means they’re cut precisely to standard industry sizes, in all qualities.

Identification

Color

Purple, violet, dark purple

Crystal habit

6-sided prism ending in 6-sided pyramid (typical)

Twinning

Dauphine law, Brazil law, and Japan law

Cleavage

None

Fracture

Conchoidal

Mohs scale 

7–lower in impure varieties hardness

Luster

glassy/ Vitreous

Streak

White

Diaphaneity

Transparent to translucent

Specific gravity

2.65 constant; variable in impure varieties

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