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Amethyst is a variety of quartz that ranges in color from pale lilac to deep violet. It is the most popular purple gemstone and has been used in jewelry for centuries. Amethyst is usually less expensive than other precious stones like diamonds, emeralds, and rubies.
The name “amethyst” comes from the Greek word amethustos, which means “not intoxicated.” This was because the ancient Greeks believed that amethysts could prevent drunkenness.
Amethysts are found in many parts of the world, but the finest examples come from Brazil. Other notable sources include Uruguay, Bolivia, Zambia, and Siberia.
Most amethysts on the market today have been heat treated to enhance their color. Natural amethysts typically have a range of hues, from pale lilac to deep violet. The deeper colors are more valuable and rarer than the lighter shades.
Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, making it durable enough for everyday wear in rings and other jewelry pieces. It is also traditionally associated with February birthdays.
The price of amethyst varies depending on its quality and size. Smaller stones are more affordable than larger ones; however, very large amethysts can be quite rare and expensive. In general, prices start at around $20 per carat and can go up to several thousand dollars per carat for exceptional specimens.
Amethysts are relatively abundant, but very fine examples can be quite rare and expensive. The largest amethyst on record is the “Dom Pedro” crystal, which weighs in at about 5 tons and is currently on display in Brazil.
The vast majority of amethyst on the market today has been heat treated to enhance its color. Amethyst can also be synthetic (created in a lab), but these stones are usually less desirable than natural ones.
When shopping for amethyst, it is important to consider the quality of the stone. The four main factors that affect quality are color, clarity, cut, and carat weight.
Color is the most important factor when it comes to amethyst. The deepest colors are the most valuable, but all natural amethysts will display a range of hues from pale lilac to deep violet. If an amethyst has been heat treated, this should be clearly stated on any accompanying paperwork.
Clarity refers to how many internal flaws or inclusions a stone has. Amethysts can range from completely clean (no visible inclusions) to heavily included (lots of small imperfections visible to the naked eye). In general, cleaner stones are more valuable than those with more inclusions. However, some people prefer stones with lots of “character” and these types of amethysts can be quite beautiful as well.
Cut refers to the shape and proportions of an amethyst gemstone. The most popular shapes are oval, round, and cushion-cut. Amethysts can also be found in heart-, marquise-, pear-, princess-, and emerald-cut varieties. Well-cut stones will display symmetry and balance; they will also have a bright sparkle when viewed from above.
Carat weight is a measure of how big an amethyst gemstone is; one carat equals 0.2 grams. Larger stones are rarer than smaller ones and therefore more valuable (all else being equal). However, very large amethysts can sometimes be less desirable because they may have more internal flaws or be less brilliant than their smaller counterparts.
Amethysts make beautiful jewelry pieces and can be found in a wide variety of rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets. They are also a popular choice for February birthdays.