Amethyst is the birthstone for February and the gemstone for the 6th and 17th anniversaries.
Amethyst is a rich velvety purple or reddish-purple variety of the mineral quartz. St. Valentine, the patron saint of romantic love wore an amethyst ring with an image of Cupid carved into it.
The finest amethyst color is a strong reddish purple or purple, with no brownish or bronze-colored tints. Pale colors of amethyst are more affordable than the stronger, darker colors. Color is the most important value factor of amethyst.
Much of the faceted amethyst in the market is “eye clean,” meaning it lacks eye-visible inclusions. Gem professionals overlook minor inclusions when the gem is richly colored and otherwise high quality however visible inclusions in pale pastel-colored amethysts reduce their value greatly.
Amethyst is available in a wide variety of fancy shapes, including custom cuts. The quality of the cut can make a big difference in beauty and brilliance. Amethyst should sparkle in a lively way, reflecting light back evenly across the entire gem. Poorly cut gems are much less marketable.
Amethyst in large sizes is not priced significantly more per carat than smaller sizes, making it a good choice for bold jewelry designs. Single amethyst crystals may be quite large. Unlike some colored gems, small sizes can be strongly colored, making it easier to match sets of differently sized gems.
Amethyst is durable enough for rings and mountings subject to daily wear and is appropriate for everyday wear, but its Mohs hardness of 7 means it will show wear over the years and may require re-polishing.
Care and cleaning
Warm soapy water is always safe.
Amethyst is rarely treated, but might have fractures. Only clean fracture-filled gemstones with warm, soapy water.
- MINERAL: Quartz
- CHEMISTRY: sio2
- COLOR: Purple
- REFRACTIVE INDEX: 1.544 to 1.553
- BIREFRINGENCE: 0.009
- SPECIFIC GRAVITY: 2.66
- MOHS HARDNESS: 7
(Gem Encyclopedia Amethyst)