What is Amethyst?
Regally radiant, amethyst enchants fine jewelry with vibrant royal purple hues. Elegant enough for crown jewelry yet economical enough for everyday pieces, this intriguing gemstone shimmers with expressive facets and vibrant depth.
A purple variety of the quartz family, amethyst is actually a relative of citrine and prasiolite. Known for its radiant color and eye-clean clarity, the gem is available in an alluring array of dark and soft shades, from off-lavender pinkish hues to a deep purple similar to that of the Cabernet Sauvignon grape. The final color of the gem essentially depends on the iron and other trace mineral content.
Once as scarce and expensive as emeralds and rubies, amethyst became more attainable during the 19th Century, when miners uncovered a substantial deposit in Brazil. Since the discovery, you can now find the gemstones in crystal-lined hollow geodes large enough to stand in. The gemstone’s increasing availability has made it quite popular in modern jewelry, from bracelets and earrings to rings and pendants. Amethyst has also become a popular center stone for alternative engagement rings, although these often include luxe diamond accents.
A Brief History of Amethyst
Amethyst has a long history that includes some rich and fascinating folklore. The name "amethyst" comes from "amethystos," the Greek word which means "not drunken." In ancient times, the stone was believed to have the power to prevent drunkenness and was often worn as a talisman to ward off negative influences. Thought to promote clarity of vision, the purple gem was also believed to inspire creativity, courage, and valor.
The gem’s use in rudimentary jewelry traces back to the Neolithic period (about 4,000 BC). And amethyst rings have been found in burial sites dating back to 2,400 BC. Ancient Egyptians used amethyst amulets during prayer ceremonies and as security against physical and spiritual harm. Egyptian artisans also used the stones to create elaborate jewelry, while countless other cultures found spiritual overtones in the purple gems. A symbol of peace, amethyst crystals were thought to promote soothing dreams by bringing the dreamer balance with the Divine. This peacefulness was thought to extend to the waking mind by making thoughts flow more freely.
Often associated with love and relationships, amethyst is also believed to help strengthen the bond between two people. Thought to bring about feelings of trust and commitment, amethyst is considered February’s birthstone, although it’s a popular gift all year long.
Varieties Of Amethyst
There are several amethyst varieties, each with its unique characteristics. A few of the most common types are:
- Siberian: Known for its deep, rich violet color, this type of amethyst is often found in Russia and East Africa.
- Brazilian: With a vibrant, purplish-pink color, this variety is primarily mined in Brazil, Uruguay, and Zambia.
- Uruguayan: Found in Uruguay, Brazil, and Zambia, this variety is a pale, pastel-colored shade of purple.
- Grape: A dark purple or violet variety of the gemstone, grape amethyst is often found in Brazil, Zambia, and Madagascar.
- Rose de France: Known for its pale, pinkish-purple color, this variety is often found in India, Brazil, and Zambia.
- Lemon: This is a yellow or yellow-orange type of amethyst often found in Brazil, Zambia, and Madagascar.
- Strawberry: This pink or reddish-pink variety is also found in Brazil, Zambia, and Madagascar.
For the most part, purple amethyst is what you’ll find in modern jewelry pieces, which come in a variety of styles and precious metals.
Do Amethysts Fade?
In general, real amethyst stones are not prone to fading or discoloration. However, like any gemstone, amethysts aren’t impervious to damage caused by harsh conditions and improper care. You can prolong the lifespan of your amethyst jewelry with the following tips:
- Avoid prolonged exposure to strong sunlight or other UV light sources, which can cause the color to fade over time.
- Avoid exposure to extreme temperatures, which can cause the gemstone to crack or become brittle.
- Avoid getting the gems wet or allowing them to come into contact with harsh chemicals, which can damage the gemstone's surface.
- Clean the jewelry regularly using a soft, dry cloth to remove dirt and oils that can build up on the gemstone's surface.
- Store your amethyst away from other gems in a cool, dry place to prevent scratching or damage.
With a ranking of 7 on the Mohs scale for gemstone hardness, amethyst is a relatively durable gemstone that’s well-suited for everyday wear.
Amethyst in Jewelry
Cool, serene and glamorous, the purple gemstone looks stunning in designer rings, earrings, bracelets, necklaces and pendants. Elegant drop earrings frame the face in this vivid purple color. Bold and dynamic amethyst bracelets and necklaces attract the eye, while stunning, stackable rings bring compelling color to everyday accessories. These days, more and more brides-to-be are also coveting regally radiant amethyst gemstones for uniquely striking alternative engagement rings.
Whether it’s smooth or multifaceted, violet, lavender or deep plum, amethyst purple gemstones always inspire tranquil energy. The right piece also adds classy vibes to formal and casual attire.
The February Birthstone
Arguably the world’s most loved purple gemstone, amethyst, is the birthstone of February. While this makes it a popular Valentine’s Day gift, the stone bestows beauty to all, whatever their birth month. According to ancient lore, St. Valentine owned an amethyst ring carved in the likeness of Cupid. This is one of the reasons for its birthstone status and incredible popularity among February fashionistas who flaunt the radiant gem in a variety of jewelry pieces.
Some stunning examples are found in these February birthstone gifts from John Atencio.
The 6th Wedding Anniversary Gemstone
Amethyst is often given as a gift to celebrate special occasions, including weddings and anniversaries. It is the traditional gemstone for the 6th wedding anniversary and is often used in jewelry to mark this milestone in a relationship.
Amethyst pairs beautifully with gold and silver settings alongside all sorts of other colorful gemstones, including topaz, garnet, and glittering white diamonds. Bursting with color, the purple gemstone looks cool and glamorous in anniversary rings, earrings, bracelets, and pendants.
Uniquely Beautiful Birthstone Jewelry
At John Atencio, we offer an intriguing selection of February birthstone gems that artfully complement our beautifully crafted jewelry pieces.
We also offer a broad collection of designer pieces featuring other colorful birthstone jewelry, including rubies, sapphires, emeralds, and more. Shop online or visit one of our Colorado locations and let our attentive jewelry consultants guide you to the perfect jewelry piece for yourself or that special someone on your shopping list.