Amethyst Gemstone Information


Brilliant Amethyst Gemstone

Amethyst is an extraordinarily beautiful purple gemstone. For many thousands of years, the most striking representative of the quartz family, amethyst has been a jewel coveted by kings, princes and religious leaders. Designers celebrate amethyst as the ideal choice for jewelry because of its regal color, variety of sizes and shapes, affordability and wide tonal range from light to dark purple. It is a color that you will also treasure in your own jewels.

Amethyst is a purple variety of quartz, which ranges in color from a light violet to an intense royal purple. The finest amethyst now comes from Africa, but the greatest quantity is produced in South America.

The prices and value of amethyst can vary tremendously, depending on the size and quality of the gemstone.  AJS Gems is your source for the highest quality amethyst gems and many other precious colored stones from across the globe, available at Bangkok direct wholesale prices. Creating the finest jewelry starts with finding the best gemstones, and the best gemstones are found at AJS Gems.


 
Why Buy Loose Gemstones Instead of Pre-Set Jewelry?
 
There are many reasons, but mainly it comes down to value and choice...

When buying your gemstone loose instead of a pre-set stone, you can be sure that you are getting the best value for your money.  Loose gemstones are less expensive, a better value, and you can really see what you are paying for.  The most important part of getting the right price and finding the best value is to first see what you're getting. A jewelry setting will hide the inclusions inside a gem, and can deepen or brighten its color. With a loose stone you can much more easily inspect the gem and see it for what it really is. In this way you can get a better idea of its true worth and be sure you are paying a fair price.

The second advantage of buying a loose gemstone is choice.  You are free to pick the exact color, cut, shape and variety of the stone for the setting of your dreams, be it yellow gold, white gold, platinum or silver; prong set or bezel set with diamond accents. You can experience the joy of creating your very own, one-of-a-kind jewelry design. Choose from a variety of jewelry settings and styles to create a completely original presentation that will perfectly suit your individual gemstone and will be as unique as you are!

 

Amethyst Ring                                         Amethyst Jewelry 

 

At AJS Gems, you will find a large collection of high quality loose amethyst gems for making fine jewelry.


Attributes
Origin Brazil, Germany, Hungary, India, Canada, Australia, South America, Iran, Japan, Madagascar, Mexico, Sri Lanka, Africa, U.S.A, USSR.
Color Purple, light purple to intense royal purple mauve and violet, loose amethyst gemstones come in all shades of purple.
Refractive Index 1.544 - 1.553
Chemical Composition  SiO2
Hardness 7
Density 2.6 - 2.7
Crystal Structure Hexagonal
  

Amethyst is a macrocrystalline variety of the mineral Quartz (SiO2). Quartz is one of the most abundant single minerals on earth. It makes up about 12% of the earth's crust, occurring in a wide variety of igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.

Quartz varieties are commonly separated into two groups based on the size of the individual grains or crystals; macrocrystalline quartz in which individual crystals are distinguishable with the naked eye, and cryptocrystalline quartz in which the individual crystals are too small to be easily distinguishable under the light microscope.

Some of the macrocrystalline quartz varieties are: Amethyst, Ametrine, Cat's-eye Quartz, Citrine, Phantom Quartz , Rock Crystal, Rose Quartz, Rutilated Quartz and Smoky Quartz.  Blue Aventurine Quartz and Green Aventurine Quartz are actually quartzites (a rock, not a mineral) composed essentially of interlocking macrocrystalline quartz grains with disseminated grains of other color imparting minerals.

The cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz may be separated into two types; fibrous and microgranular. Chalcedony is the general term applied to the fibrous cryptocrystalline varieties. Agate is an example of a fibrous cryptocystalline banded chalcedony variety of quartz. Carnelian, Chrysoprase and bloodstone are other chalcedony varieties.  Chert is the general term applied to the granular cryptocrystalline varieties of quartz, of which flint and Jasper are examples.

 

amethyst crystal                                                       Amethyst Gems

 

The purple color of amethyst is due to small amounts (approximately 40 parts per million) of iron (Fe4+) impurities at specific sites in the crystal structure of quartz. The difference between amethyst and citrine is only the oxidation state of the iron impurities present in the quartz. Upon heating, the iron impurities are reduced and amethyst's purple color fades and becomes yellow to reddish-orange (citrine), green, or colorless depending on the site and original oxidation state of the iron impurities present and the amount and duration of the heating. The amethystine color usually can be regained by irradiation which re-oxidizes the iron impurities. This irradiation can be done by synthetic means, or it can occur in nature by radioactive decay of nearby radioactive minerals. In most cases this is a reversible process, however excessive heating may change the distribution of the iron impurities at the different sites within the quartz making it impossible to convert it back to amethyst by subsequent irradiation. The heating process can occur naturally or synthetically.

Amethyst has a chemical formula of SiO2, a density of 2.60 - 2.70, and a refractive index of 1.544 - 1.553. The refractive index (RI), measured using a refractometer, is an indication of the amount light rays are bent by a mineral.  Birefringence is the difference between the minimum and maximum RI. When birefringence is high, light rays reflect off different parts of the back of a stone causing an apparent doubling of the back facets when viewed through the front facet.

Most gems have a crystalline structure. Crystals have planes of symmetry and are divided into seven symmetry systems. The number of axes, their length, and their angle to each other determine the system to which a crystal belongs.  Amethyst gemstones belong to the Hexagonal crystal system.  Amethyst is composed of an irregular superposition of alternate lamellae of right-handed and left-handed quartz. It has been shown that this structure may be due to mechanical stresses. As a consequence of this composite formation, amethyst is apt to break with a rippled fracture or to show "thumb markings", and the intersection of two sets of curved ripples may produce on the fractured surface a pattern something like that of "engine turning".

Because it has a hardness of seven on the Mohs scale, amethyst is suitable for use in any style of jewelry.


Color 
 
Amethyst ranges in color from a light slightly-pinkish violet to a deep grape purple.  The pale colors are sometimes called "Rose de France" and can be seen set in Victorian jewelry. The deep colors are the most valuable, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes.  Amethyst may exhibit one or both secondary hues, red and/or blue. The ideal grade is called "Deep Siberian" and has a primary purple hue of around 75–80 percent, 15–20 percent blue and (depending on the light source) red secondary hues.
 
In the 20th century, the color of amethyst was attributed to the presence of manganese. However, since it is capable of being greatly altered and even discharged by heat, the color was believed by some authorities to be from an organic source. Ferric thiocyanate was suggested, and sulfur was said to have been detected in the mineral.

More recent work has shown that amethyst's coloration is due to ferric iron impurities.  Further study has shown a complex interplay of iron and aluminium is responsible for the color.
  
 
Cut 

Amethyst is available in a wide range of calibrated sizes and shapes, including many fancy shapes. Large fine stones may be sold in free sizes but generally amethyst is cut in standardized dimensions. Amethyst is commonly found in most popular gemstone shapes, such as pear, emerald cut, square, trillion, cabochon, round, oval, cushion, and heart shaped cuts.
 
Lower grades of material are cabbed, carved, and made into a great variety of beads and other ornamental objects.
 
 
Treatments
 
Amethyst can be heat treated to improve the color or change it to citrine.  Amethyst heat treatment is used if the natural color of the stone is too dark. The heat treatment is used to lighten the color to a rich purple or change the color entirely.  Darker hues of amethyst are rarely enhanced to perfect their color, although some varieties do respond well to heat enhancement.
 
AJS Gems fully discloses any and all treatments to our gemstones.
 

Sources

Amethyst is mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Bolivia, Argentina, India, North America and some African countries. Generally, amethyst from South America tends to be available in larger sizes than African amethyst but amethyst from Africa has the reputation for having better, more saturated, color in small sizes. Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, is also mined in Australia.
 
The deposits with the greatest economic significance are in various states in southern Brazil and in neighbouring Uruguay. The third major export country is Madagascar. However, this gemstone is spread all over the world. Good specimens were found in Aztec graves, though the deposits from which they were extracted are no longer known today. On the Canadian side of Lake Superior in North America, there is a place named Amethyst Harbor. The violet quartz is found there in ample quantities, though rarely in gemstone quality. The fame of Idar-Oberstein, the German gemstone center, is based on domestic amethyst finds. In earlier times, raw material was delivered there from the Zillertal Alps. When these nearby deposits ceased to yield, the old cutters' tradition was able to be preserved thanks to supplies organised by German emigrs in South America. Russian amethysts, which were mainly mined in winter in the Urals, were once famous for their particularly beautiful color, which shone magnificently even in artificial light. In Tibet there were amethyst rosaries, for there the gemstone was dedicated to Buddha and was said to promote clarity of mind. In Sri Lanka, stones which have rolled down on their own are found in debris.

However, the amethyst is more likely to turn up in spaces lining agate almonds and druses in igneous rocks. What was presumed to be the largest-ever cavity was discovered in 1900 in Rio Grande do Sul. The almond measured ten by five by three meters (33 by 16 by 10 ft.) and weighed an estimated eight tons. The dark violet amethysts, some as large as a man's fist, may have weighed some 700 cwt. altogether. There is a piece weighing 200 kilograms, taken from this Brazilian treasure, in the Washington Museum. In recent times, a find in the USA has been making headlines. In July 1993, a three-meter druse was found in Maine, which contained well over 1000 kilograms of cuttable amethyst, some of it in crystals 19 cm in length.
 
The South American deposits in particular, which were not discovered until the nineteenth century, brought down the price of the violet gemstone. The amethyst bracelet of Queen Charlotte of England, which was so famous at the beginning of the 18th century, its value being estimated at 2000 pounds sterling at that time, was apparently worth only 100 pounds 200 years later. However, the price has a close relationship with the quality, and the quality varies immensely. Most of the material from Brazil is light-colored, a tender purple. In Madagascar, it is generally red or violet hues which are found. Uruguay supplies the most beautiful and the deepest color, but it is mostly blemished. Thus immaculate stones of the finest violet still fetch carat prices of well over a hundred euros. Mounted with diamond braid trimming, as has been the custom for some 100 years, enchanting pieces of jewellery are thus created. No wonder that people find it worth going to the trouble of producing imitations and synthetics.
 
Amethyst also occurs at many localities in the United States, but these specimens are rarely fine enough for use in jewelry. Among these may be mentioned Amethyst Mountain, Texas; Yellowstone National Park; Delaware County, Pennsylvania; Haywood County, North Carolina; Deer Hill and Stow, Maine. It is found also in the Lake Superior region. Amethyst is relatively common in Ontario, and in various locations throughout Nova Scotia, but uncommon elsewhere in Canada. Amethyst is produced in abundance from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil where it occurs in large geodes within volcanic rocks. It is also found and mined in South Korea. The largest opencast amethyst vein in the world is in Maissau, Lower Austria.
 
Amethyst was used as a gemstone by the ancient Egyptians and was largely employed in antiquity for intaglios. Beads of amethyst were found in Anglo-Saxon graves in England. It is a widely distributed mineral, but fine, clear specimens that are suitable for cutting as ornamental stones are confined to few localities. Such crystals occur either in the cavities of mineral-veins and in granitic rocks, or as a lining in agate geodes. A huge geode, or "amethyst-grotto", from near Santa Cruz in southern Brazil was exhibited at the Dusseldorf, Germany Exhibition of 1902. Many of the hollow agates of Brazil and Uruguay contain a crop of amethyst crystals in the interior. Much fine amethyst comes from Russia, especially from near Mursinka in the Ekaterinburg district, where it occurs in drusy cavities in granitic rocks. Many localities in India yield amethyst.
 
In more recent times, certain gems (usually of Bolivian origin) that have shown alternate bands of amethyst purple with citrine orange have been given the name ametrine.
 

Mythology

A large number of further miraculous powers are attributed to amethyst gemstones in all sorts of cultures.

The name amethyst comes from the Greek a ("not") and methuskein ("to intoxicate"), a reference to the belief that the stone protected its owner from drunkenness; the ancient Greeks and Romans wore amethyst gems and made drinking vessels of it in the belief that it would prevent intoxication.

The legend of the origin of amethyst comes from Greek myths. Dionysius, the god of intoxication, was angered one day by an insult from a mere mortal and swore revenge on the next mortal that crossed his path, creating fierce tigers to carry out his wish. Along came unsuspecting Amethyst, a beautiful young maiden on her way to pay tribute to the goddess Diana. Diana turned Amethyst into a statue of pure crystalline quartz to protect her from the brutal claws. Dionysius wept tears of wine in remorse for his action at the sight of the beautiful statue. The god's tears stained the quartz purple, creating the gem we know today.

Amethyst's color is as unique as it is seductive, in fact is this gemstone is said, to protect its wearer against seduction. 
 
Moses described amethyst as a symbol of the Spirit of God, in the official robes of the High Priest of the Jews.
 
Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.
 
In Tibet, amethyst is considered to be sacred to Buddha and rosaries are often fashioned from it.
 
The Russian Empress Catherine the Great, sent thousands of miners into the Urals to look for the stone she most treasured - royal purple amethyst.
 
Amethyst  has been said to protect crops against tempests and locusts, bring good fortune in war and drive out evil spirits and inspire intellect.

Amethyst is said to bring serenity and calm, to enhance one's ability to assimilate new ideas, and to assist during meditation. It is also said to give strength and mental stability, and to provide balance between one's physical, emotional, intellectual states. Amethyst is also said to make one shrewd in business matters.

Amethyst  is a symbol of heavenly understanding, and of the pioneer in thought and action on the philosophical, religious, spiritual, and material planes. Ranking members of the Roman Catholic Church traditionally wear rings set with a large amethyst as part of their office.
 
Since it was thought to put the wearer in a chaste frame of mind, amethyst symbolized trust and piety.
 
Amethyst crystals came to a very prominent position used in many ornaments of the Catholic clergy. It was the stone of bishops and cardinals and can be found in crosses and Papal Rings.
 
Amethyst is the birthstone for the month of February & the anniversary gemstone for the 6th year of marriage.  Amethyst  is also associated with the astrological signs of Pisces, Aries (especially the violet and purple variety), Aquarius, and Sagittarius.

 

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