Amethyst, The July Birthstone
Amethyst is a type of quartz and is found in a stunning purple color. Purple has been considered the color of royalty for centuries and amethysts have been used widely throughout history as adornments for crowns and other royal jewelry. Finely crafted amethysts can be found in the Crown Jewels in Britain and many historical figures believed that the gemstones had the power to eliminate evil thoughts and grant intelligence.
The intense color of the amethyst has helped it to remain a very popular gemstone through the centuries. Most higher quality amethyst today comes from Africa, Southern Brazil or Uruguay. It is a form of quartz which is one of the most commonly found of all earth substances. When small amounts of aluminum and iron are present, regular clear quartz will become amethyst.
These lovely gemstones can range in hues from very pale to very dark purple. The finest quality stones are those that exhibit a medium dark purple color with a slight red color to the stone. Darker shades often show color fluctuations when viewed in different lights. These darker shades are not typically enhanced to perfect color although there are a few varieties that respond very well to heat type enhancements. Brownish stones are normally heated which turns them into citrine which has an orange or yellow coloring. The heat causes a permanent color enhancement which will last the stone throughout its life.
Amethysts range widely with regards to size and shape. Lighter colored stones are typically the lowest in cost per carat although even the finest quality stone is relatively affordable. Although they are beautiful stones, amethysts are not typically considered to be expensive gemstones.
The finest quality of amethyst are transparent which means that light will completely pass through the stone. The best quality of stones are those that have little or no inclusions and that are relatively clear so that light can pass through. Because of the variation in color distribution, amethysts are typically cut as round or oval stones. This allows for maximum color, although there are other shapes that can be purchased. Those that have the best color distribution are normally cut into fancier shapes. Amethysts are found widely in stones cut into shapes such as hearts and shields. They are also available in wide range of jewelry pieces including rings, earrings, necklaces and many others. Amethysts paired with diamonds create a very striking and stunning contrast and are a favored combination by many jewelry collectors.
The amethyst is the most valuable stone that belongs to the quartz family. It is the birthstone for those born in July and features a brilliant purple or violet color. When choosing an amethyst stone, look for one that is very clear and can catch the light. Light should follow all the way through the stone and it is best to view these stones in natural lighting as opposed to indoor bulbs. Amethyst is a lovely stone that looks great when paired with any metal such as gold or silver and can create a beautiful contrast when paired with gemstones of other colors.