Amethysts are among the most popular gemstones and probably the most well-known purple rock.
At one point in history, amethysts were ranked alongside diamonds, sapphires, rubies, and emeralds, and were considered so valuable that the use of amethysts was restricted only to royalty.
Amethysts continue to be popular today, but their value has decreased over time. Does this mean that they’re no longer a good choice for jewelry?
And more importantly, can amethyst be chic and trendy, or is it dated?
Let’s answer these questions and more in this definitive amethyst jewelry buying guide.
What Is Amethyst?
Until the 18th century, amethysts were considered a cardinal gemstone and were highly valuable, ranked with the likes of diamonds. However, when large deposits were found in Brazil and other locations, prices plummeted.
Unlike diamonds, the supply of amethyst was never tightly controlled, and no false scarcity existed. So, while the beauty of the gemstone remained the same, the value dropped.
Amethyst is made of quartz, a common crystal that is abundantly found across the world. It’s the cousin of other quartz gemstones like citrine (yellow quartz), rose quartz (pink variety) and smoky quartz (smoky colored variety).
What is Green Amethyst?
Amethyst only comes in purple shades, but you may come across green gemstones sold as ‘green amethyst’, such as this ring. This is not amethyst, but a green variety of quartz that sometimes displays a light purple shade on the surface.
Green quartz is called prasiolite. According to the FTC, it’s misleading to refer to prasiolite as green amethyst and doing so could result in legal action due to intentional misappropriation and false advertisement.
In other words, there is no such thing as green amethyst, and retailers who market gemstones under that term are deliberately misleading their customers.
Amethyst and Citrine in Ametrine
Ametrine (a contraction of the words amethyst and citrine) is a rare, bi-colored gemstone that is produced in only one mine in the world – the Anahi Mine in Bolivia from which all the world’s ametrine production comes from.
This is also why ametrine is the national stone of Bolivia and is sometimes called bolivanite.
Ametrine contains both the colors of amethyst and citrine, with unique color zoning and patterns.
Choosing Amethyst Color
Color, it goes without saying, is the most important factor when it comes to amethysts. Distinguished by its purple color, amethyst has shades ranging from light lavender to dark purple. Its color is caused by infections in the crystal lattice coming from irradiation, contamination of trace elements, and iron impurities.
One issue with amethyst is that it’s prone to zoning. Because an amethyst crystal can come in large sizes, often its colors can be diluted and spread unevenly throughout the crystal.
Some amethyst crystals, on the other hand, have deeply saturated rich purple shades. These are the types that are popular in the jewelry world and are more valuable. Although zoning does lower the value of amethyst, they can still be used in jewelry. It’s just that the color will be less rich and even.
For your jewelry, choose an amethsyt with vibrant color. Because amethyst is affordable, it’s possible to find a stone with stunning color at affordable rates.
Choosing Amethyst Clarity
Clarity is an important quality factor, as it allows the crystal to reflect light out of the surface. If the stone contains inclusions that hinder the movement of light, it can affect the brilliance of the stone.
As amethyst is a Type 2 gemstone, it typically has few inclusions.
Amethysts cut for jewelry is often eye-clean. This means that it does not contain visible flaws. When looking for an amethyst, make sure that there are no inclusions within the stone and that it is transparent and clear.
How to Choose Amethyst Cut
Amethysts are often cut to maximize the color of the stone. For eye-clean crystals with minimal or no zoning, faceting is more appropriate, as it allows the stone to reflect as much light as possible.
Depending on the size of the stone and the distribution of its color, any type of cut is possible be it oval, cushion, triangle, marquise or emerald.
For highly included crystals with prominent zoning, en cabochon is more suitable. Cabochons bank on the interesting patterns that inclusions and color zoning render on the surface of the stone. In other words, what we consider flaws (zoning, inclusions) are used to advantage with this type of cut.
With the invention of fantasy cut by Bernd Munsteiner in1943, less precious crystals such as amethysts were able to grab the spotlight. This refers to beautiful non-standard carvings cut onto the surface of the gem. Because amethyst crystals are relatively softer than most precious gemstones, cutters are allowed more room for creativity with their artistic designer cuts.
Sometimes amethyst isn’t cut at all. One of the most popular versions of an amethyst ornament is an amethyst geode. Geodes are spherical hollow rock structures that are lined internally with minerals. Amethyst geodes are often cut into halves or other portions. This is widely used in crystal healing and in spirituality.
Amethyst Carat Weight
Amethysts can be found in a range of sizes. If you are someone who likes large center-stones, this makes a good choice because the price of amethysts does not go up with the increase in carat weight.
Is Amethyst Good for Engagement Rings?
While most couples go down the diamond route when it comes to engagement rings, there are those who wish to be different and opt for an alternative engagement ring.
Amethyst makes for a different, beautiful, and affordable engagemet ring stone. When pairing amethyst with a metal, consider yellow gold for a vintage look, and white metals for a modern style.
White gold brings out the natural brilliance of purple, as the bright white shade contrasts as well as complements the amethyst’s hue, making the gem stand out more.
If your amethyst is set in a halo setting, surrounding by diamond melees, the stone’s color will be highlighted further by the sparkle of the diamonds.
Yellow gold and amethyst make for an interesting color combination. Yellow and purple are on the opposing spectrum of the color wheel and the colors contradict rather than complement.
When it comes to fashion, purple and gold are not your everyday mix and match colors. However, a yellow gold amethyst ring proves this to be not always true.
There are stunning amethyst and yellow gold settings out there that are real showstoppers.
In the same way, rose hues don’t tend to go well with purple, but in the case of amethysts, rose gold and amethyst make for an eye-catching and classic combination.
How to Choose Amethyst Jewelry
Amethyst is a stone that works well with minimalist or maximalist tastes. It can be trendy and chic with a classical twist and can dress up any outfit.
Think dainty studs, small, classy pendants, tennis bracelets or a small amethyst ring if you prefer a minimalist style.
On the other hand, if you wish to make a statement with your jewelry, amethysts are perfect as the center stone for large cocktail rings or big necklaces.
They add class and elegance as dangle or drop earrings and can be the focal point of the outfit with their striking color.
Is Amethyst Good For Promise Rings?
Promise rings are perfect for when you want to make a gesture of love without the commitment of marriage. While there are many types of promise rings out there, amethyst rings are one of our top picks.
Amethyst promise rings can be found in a range of designs. Unlike engagement rings, where stones are traditionally faceted, promise rings give you a wider leeway in terms of design. You can choose elegant, boho, traditional, modern, big or small. It all depends on your preferences. Amethyst also adds that perfect pop of color to stand out on your finger.
If your partner has a birthday in February, then more reason to give an amethyst, as it is widely known as the birthstone for February. February is also when you celebrate Valentine’s Day, so yet another reason to choose an amethyst promise ring.
An amethyst promise ring is a symbol of trust, a promise to your significant other to always be loyal.
Caring for Amethyst Jewelry
While we agree that an amethyst is a gorgeous choice for an engagement ring, it’s not ideal for daily heavy-exposure wear.
Amethyst is a relatively hard stone, ranking 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. However, it is much softer than stones such as diamonds, sapphires, or moissanites, and can get damaged. To prolong an amethyst’s life, it’s important to give it reasonable care.
Caring for an amethyst is quite easy. Remove unwanted dust and oil deposit on the crystal with warm and soapy water. In addition to regular cleaning, take extra care while wearing the stone. Avoid bumping or scratching the stone against a rough surface. When storing the amethyst, keep it away from harder stones and metals that could scratch its surface.
Heat is an amethyst’s mortal enemy. Extreme and repeated exposure to sunlight can cause the color to fade, so keep the stone away from harsh lights.
Harsh chemicals such as chlorine can also harm the stone as well as the band of the ring. Avoid wearing amethyst jewelry while sunbathing, swimming, or when doing household chores which involve detergents and chemicals.
Professional maintenance once every year or so can prolong the life of your amethyst.
Even with all this care, you may have to replace the amethyst on your ring after some time. The plus side is that because amethysts are affordable, it will not be costly to have your stone replaced.
However, there are people who’ve had amethyst jewelry that have lasted the test of time and been passed down as heirlooms to the next generation. It all comes down to how you take care of your jewelry.
Are Amethysts Treated?
Sometimes, when crystals are in their natural form, colors tend to be muted or do not appear on the crystal at all. By heat treating the stone, the gemstone can bloom.
Heating is the most common treatment used on amethyst. When an amethyst is too dark or too light, it can affect the beauty of the stone. By heating, the color is changed either by darkening, lightening, or just completely changing the hue of the crystal.
For example, if a transparent or slightly green amethyst is heated, it can turn into a brilliant Royal Purple. Also, as very dark crystals can look black, heating can lighten the crystal to bring it to a nice, vibrant shade of violet.
Amethyst Symbolism and Meaning
Amethyst is a stone that is steeped in history and lore. Amethyst originally got its name from the Alexandrian dialect word amethystos that meant “to not intoxicate”.
Legend has it that Dionysus, the god of wine, wished to punish humans for disrespecting his creation of wine through their mindless drinking and overindulgence. He descended from Olympus and punished the first human he came across, by turning her into white quartz. The human was said to be a beautiful lady named Amethyst.
Dionysus immediately regretted what he had done when he saw the lady and began to weep tears of wine over the statue. As the wine seeped through the stone, it changed the color to purple. From this statue, all amethyst is said to originate.
Because of this connection to the Greek god of wine, the ancient Greeks believe that amethyst was a protector against intoxication.
But amethyst is not merely there to stop us from getting drunk.
Believed to be an emotional stimulant, crystal healers claim that amethyst stones inspire hidden creativity and awaken dulled imagination. By soothing a stressed mind inebriated by worldly passions, the amethyst stone allows ideas to freely flow. Looking into a deeper perspective of intoxication, an amethyst does not only protect from physical intoxication but with emotional and spiritual drunkenness as well.
Whether or not these beliefs hold true, the amethyst is undeniably a beautiful stone that should be the part of any person’s jewelry collection.
Disclaimer: Jewelry Shopping Guide does not guarantee or validate any of the claims related to the metaphysical and alternative healing powers of this or any other gemstone. This information should in no way be used as a substitute for medical advice.
Where to Buy Amethyst Jewelry
Amethyst is a common gemstone and can easily be found in most physical or online stores. If buying online, ensure that you are buying from a top-rated vendor with a proven track record, and always check the after sales policies on offer.
As amethyst is the February birthstone, most jewelry stores that offer birthstone jewelry tend to have a good selection of amethyst on offer. Here are some of our top picks:
- James Allen: An online giant in the diamond space, James Allen also offers a small but exclusive selection of fine amethyst jewelry. The images and videos are unparalleled in quality and makes shopping online similar, if not better, to shopping in store.
- Blue Nile: Blue Nile has an excellent selection of fine amethyst birthstone jewelry. With competitive prices, after-sales policies, and good customer service, it’s a great place to take your search.
- Brilliant Earth: For dainty and classy amethyst jewelry, check out Brilliant Earth’s collection. The company prides itself on its ethical stance, offering a wide range of recycled metals and lab-created gemstones.
- Etsy: Etsy has a large assortment of vendors that offer a variety of amethyst jewelry, ranging from a few dollars to pieces that costs thousands of dollars.
- Amazon: As it is one of the biggest online retailers worldwide, it’s not surprising that you can find all kinds of amethyst jewelry here. The range is extensive and will take some time to go through, but it’s well worth it.
Amethyst is a gemstone that has lasted the test of time. Although it has fluctuated in value over the years, it’s beauty hasn’t changed. It remains one of the most beautiful gemstones, and when set in high-quality jewelry, it can really stand out.
However, because amethyst only ranks at 7 on the Mohs scale, it’s not suitable for heavily exposed jewelry like engagement rings worn daily. It’s best in occasional jewelry or items that aren’t of high sentimental value.