Amethysts have deep history in most cultures. The latin nomenclature of this beautiful gem comes from a combination of two ancient greek words; ‘a’ and ‘Methystos’ meaning ‘not intoxicated’. The greeks believed this majestic stone would prevent the wearer from becoming inebriated.
Up until the 19th Century, amethysts were just as rare as rubies and emeralds. A large deposit of gem grade amethyst was found in Brazil, allowing for the commercialization of the stone. Thanks to this great find, it is not uncommon to find a sizeable quality amethyst at your local jewellery store. Although this doesn’t guarantee the amethyst will be of great quality so here is what you should look for.
Figure 1 : Vintage Amethyst Bouquet Brooch
Similar to diamonds, the 4 C’s do apply although with slight variations.
Amethysts are similar to other coloured gems when it comes to the most sought after colours. The deep, strong colours purple and violet are among the more desirable. It is very important the colour stays consistent throughout and there are no brownish tints. Lighter coloured amethysts can be quite desirable as well since this stone is more of a fashion piece than a rare gem. Again, colour consistency is the key with the amethyst.
Due to its availability, jewellery grade amethysts should be ‘eye clean’. Any faceted gem should be free of any visible inclusions from the naked eye. Cabochons and carvings can be slightly more lenient when it comes to inclusions but only in favour of richer colours.
Figure 2 : Diamond and Amethyst ring in 18k white gold
The amethyst has been used in commercial jewellery for many years now meaning it is available in a wide variety of cuts and shapes. Faceted, cabochons and carvings are all quite common. Advances in automation and cutting techniques have also allowed for intricate designs to be sculpted into the stone. The standard cuts should not add a premium to the price of an amethyst although a poor cut can seriously deter its quality.
The “Amethyst” price per carat is not significantly affected by size -as it is a stone considered to belong to the semi-precious category. (The gemmologist does not like the term semi-precious, as all stones are supposed to be considered precious!) This means the bigger stones should not cost exponentially more than smaller ones. This makes the amethyst ideal for large, bold designs.
Figure 3 : Deep purple Amethyst cabochon earrings
The amethyst is a beautiful gem and hard enough to be very scratch resistant. It is often seen in estate jewellery due to its long favoured richness in colour, durability and affordability. When buying modern jewellery, one should not settle for anything less than a high quality stone as they are readily available and reasonably priced.
Daisy Exclusive holds a wide selection of amethyst jewellery on our website and even more in our store in Westmount, Quebec.