Amethyst – Tears of Beauty
by Melanie Spark
The Amethyst Gemstone is a semi-precious jewel of violet or purple colour that is available in many different shapes and sizes and is a common form of transparent crystallized Quartz. Amethyst is the Birthstone for the month of February and is mined in Brazil, Uruguay, Russia, Bolivia and Argentina, as well as Namibia, Zambia and a few other African countries, within the United States of America, Arizona is a good source of Amethyst. The purple colouring of the Amethyst is caused by impurities of iron and manganese.
Amethyst compliments both warm and cool colours so it does look good set in white and yellow metals, many of today’s designers favour the Amethyst as the ideal Gemstone for use in Jewelry because of it’s royal colouring and the sheer variety of shapes and sizes available to use. The stone is also very affordable and the wide tonal range from pale lavender to dark purple gives the designer a lot of scope to work with. Stones from South America tends to be available in larger sizes than African Amethyst but the African offerings have a reputation for better, more saturated colours in the smaller sizes. When Amethyst is heated it turns yellow and a lot of yellow Topaz and Citrine seen today comes from the use of this treatment, although Citrine is available naturally it is very rarely found.
Fine examples of this lovely stone are featured in the British Crown Jewels and they were also a favourite of Catherine the Great, as well as Egyptian royalty, it is believed that the tears of the gods had stained the Quartz purple and created the Gemstone we know today. Because Amethyst Gemstones were thought to encourage celibacy and symbolize piety, the stones were very important in the ornamentation of Catholic churches in the middle ages. In Tibet the Gemstone is considered to be sacred to Buddha with rosaries being fashioned from it, therefore the jewel is believed to be an excellent stone for meditation.
The healing power of the stone is said to be good for addictions, helping with arthritis, headaches, blood sugar levels, brain imbalances and a remedy for stomach disorders. The jewel is also said to bring serenity and calm and to better one’s ability to assimilate new ideas. The famous Leonardo Da Vinci once wrote that Amethyst Gemstones were able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence; the stone is also believed to bring money and success to the wearer and to aid in general healing after an illness or operation. The ancient Greeks believed that wearing Amethyst Jewelry would keep the effects of intoxication at bay, so strong were there beliefs that even drinking vessels and amulets were made from this lovely jewel.
It is possible to find Ametrine crystals, these are part Amethyst and part Citrine and often contain a number of inclusions where the colours change. Some examples of this Gemstone have been known to lose colour with continued exposure to sunlight but the original colouring can be restored by x-ray radiation. Like all varieties of Quartz, Amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale so care should be taken when wearing the stone. Above everything the Amethyst is a beautiful Gemstone and blend this with the fact that it is very popular with designers, means there is a lot of variety in jewelry stores to tempt you to purchase this very affordable Gemstone.