February’s birthstone: Amethyst, the royal purple gem

While we’re in a cold, short month like February, the amethyst brings a rich, deep warmth to dark days. It ranges from a deep purple to a light purple-pink, to stones that have a touch of red.

The GIA says this about the gemstone: “Amethyst is composed of quartz, which is the second most abundant material found in the Earth’s crust. Its hardness (a 7 on the Mohs scale)… makes it a durable and lasting option for jewelry.”

Amethyst facts

  • The stone’s name comes from the Greek word, “Methustos,” which means “intoxicated.” Greeks and Romans believed that if you wore an amethyst crystal, you couldn’t get drunk. (Reality check…it doesn’t.)
  • In the middle ages, amethysts were scarce, and were as valuable as diamonds.
  • Amethysts are part of the British Crown Jewels; they were a favorite of Catherine the Great and Egyptian royalty.
  • Amethyst and golden citrine are sister stones—they’re both quartz, but different amounts of iron change the color from purple to yellow.
  • The largest source of amethysts is Brazil.
  • The easiest way to clean your amethyst jewelry is with soapy water and a soft cloth. Watch out for harsh chemicals and keep the stone out of extreme heat.

Buying tips

The GIA writes that the stone “often has ‘stripes’ or layers of color from how and when it was formed, so it takes a skilled gemologist to cut and polish the stone to show the overall color of the stone evenly. Avoid brownish or rust colored tints to the stone and be careful the color is not too deep or it can appear black in some lights.”

Some tips for buying amethyst jewelry

  • Darker stones are often more expensive. If you’re buying a lighter amethyst, look for visible inclusions that can reduce the value of the stone.
  • Since an amethyst is durable, it makes a great stone for almost any kind of jewelry—ring, brooch, pendant, or large statement piece.
  • The stone is often cut as brilliant rounds or ovals to maximize the color.
  • The depth of color of the gem works well with warm or cool colors.
  • Try to look at a stone you’re buying in natural light, where its color will show off better than artificial light.

Happy birthday, February readers. I wish you a year of joy with your amethyst jewelry. I’m available to help you with your amethysts, diamonds, or any jewelry.

Brilliantly yours, Aimee

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