Amethyst is in the quartz family. It derives its purple/violet color from irradiation and from iron impurities, magnesium, and the presence of other trace elements.
Amethyst can both stimulate and soothe our minds and our emotions at the same time. It brings a spiritual tone to the wearer while being well grounded and practical. As such, it helps one to live from higher values and morals while allowing one to take care of day-to-day responsibilities. It amplifies creativity so it has been called the “Artist’s Stone,” the “Author’s Stone,” the “Poet’s Stone,” the “Inventor’s Stone,” and so on. It is also good for healing of people, animals and plants.
Interestingly, because of its deep purple color, it was associated with wine and was thought to keep one from getting drunk.
There were some times in the past that amethyst was prized more than diamonds and cost more as a result. The deep purples are prized the most – both then and now. It was also on a par with rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. It can be found in royal crown jewels throughout the ages.
Amethyst is mined in many places all over the world with a lot of it coming from Zambia but it is also mined in the US, Brazil, Canada, Bolivia, Argentina, Uruguay, Sri Lanka, and Siberia. It is, however, different in the different mined locations and tends to be unique to that area.
Different types of Amethyst:
Chevron Amethyst has a chevron V-shape of deeper purple and white that goes through the stone.
Cacoxenite in Amethyst has a deep brown or yellow mixed into the stone and is considered a very calming element with the amethyst.
Brandberg Amethystis a very rare form of amethyst. It contains the purple/violet amethyst with clear quartz and smoky quarts. This is considered an extremely powerful stone.
Ametrine is where amethyst and citrine are combined in the same stone. It is particularly attractive in jewelry as it will pick up different spectrums of light.
Rutilated Amethyst is when thin “needles” of a brownish iron mineral called Goethite are embedded in the stone.
NOTE: Sometimes, amethyst is heated or irradiated to change its color to green or a light yellow-green. This is called Prastolite. Prastolite is often called GREEN AMETHYST but this is a misnomer. In heating the gemstone, it changes the stone and should be classed Prasiolite.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR AMETHYST IS FAKE: currently, amethyst is generally affordable, so it is usually only faked in its most expensive forms or in costume jewelry.
A real amethyst stone will stay cold to the touch when held in a warm palm and will not pick up the body heat.
It is hard at 7 on the Mohs scale (Mohs scale is from 1-10 with only a diamond at 10) and is hard enough that it will not scratch easily, but fakes can scratch easily.
Check the color. “The common colors of amethyst are deep violet, light lilac, lavender, mauve, crimson, blue violet, bright red and so on. Highest quality amethyst is deep violet and bright red. While buying amethysts, you should always choose stones having saturated distribution of color all over the surface. Overall an amethyst is a clean and clear. The clearer the stone, the more valuable it is” (Panehall.com).
Check for any streaks of white in the stone. If it has none or has a bubble, it is probably fake. However, the very clear, high quality amethyst will often have no visible streaks and you should have it appraised by a professional to be sure it is amethyst.
Buying from reputable vendors is important for any expensive jewelry. Ask the vendor to guarantee it in writing if you are unsure. That way you have recourse if you discover later that it is a fake.
Care of amethyst jewelry: you can clean it in an ultrasonic cleaner or just use soapy water and rinse with clear water. Keep it away from extreme heat as the heat can and will change the color of the stone. Avoid leaving it out in the sunlight or wearing it for long periods in direct sunlight as that will also change the color.