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The Magnificent Amethyst Ring

Posted by Deb Callaghan on

If you’re looking for a unique and memorable gift for the special girl in your life, then an amethyst ring is a beautiful option worthy of consideration. Large, wonderful amethysts are often found on antique cocktail rings, which gives them a delightful antiquated yet fashionable look, they truly are a splendorous gift that any discerning lady would appreciate.

 

Amethysts are classified as semi-precious stones. It is a form of quartz crystal, but one which has a unique purple hue, they are undoubtedly a significant type of mineral, with the unparalleled natural appeal. In case you didn’t already know, Amethysts are the traditional birthstone of anyone born in February, making it the perfect choice for any February birthday girls. Additionally, it is the gemstone for anyone celebrating their sixth or seventeenth wedding anniversaries. It is said that Amethysts represent a profound sense of well being and satisfaction with life. The gem continues to offer an enduring appeal for many, and is well known semi-precious stone and is loved by many people in all walks of life. Amethysts are timeless in their appeal and have been sought after and well regarded for centuries. Some believe that amethysts have an inner energy, one which has the ability to empower the individual and to soothe a troubled mind.

Amethysts Through History

One of the first cultures recorded as having a love affair with flawless purple amethysts was the ancient Greeks. The Greeks related these gemstones with the wine god, Bacchus, which is perhaps unsurprising, given the gemstones colouring is similar to a grape. They Greeks allegedly wore the crystal in order to protect themselves from becoming inebriated, how successful this ploy was is somewhat debatable. This belief leads to the name of the gemstone we have now, in ancient Greece “amethystos” translates into “not intoxicated”, which might suggest their theory at least worked on the psychological level. As per the legendary properties, an amethyst gem is said to keep the wearer fully lucid and smart. Artist, inventor and all-round smart guy Leonardo da Vinci believed that amethysts are able to improve knowledge retention and protect you from less than desirable thoughts.

Looking into Greek Mythology, Amethyst was a young, playful virgin who became a victim of the Greek God Dionysus’s red wine induced drunken antics. Amethyst is said to have appealed and shouted for help from the Goddess Diana. The goddess obviously thought the appropriate response to an appeal to help was to turn the young lady into a white, opalescent quartz stone (who knows how Greek gods minds work). Once Dionysus sobered up, he regretted his inebriated behaviour and cried. The god's tears streamed into his cup of red wine, which upended, pouring teary salty wine all over the white quartz crystal, turning it into a purple gemstone which we now know as Amethysts. I’m not sure what the life lesson for this tale is, I suspect it doesn’t bother Greek gods when they are drinking, or when they are sober.

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Amethyst crystals have been incorporated into a host of royal collections throughout the world, from the ancient Egyptians, through to the British royal families gems. The Smithsonian institution is said to have acquired an Amethyst in excess of a whopping 200kg. There is evidence that suggests that ancient societies favoured this gemstone above all other precious jewels. Currently, this stone is seeing a resurgence of popularity, equalling that of rubies and sapphires.

During the early days of the Christian church, amethysts evidently played an important role, for example, they would often be used as the main gemstone in bishops rings. The imperial purple shading has noteworthy significance and is said to represent Christ. Saint Valentine who’s name day is all above love, was described as wearing a ring set featuring cupid intricately carved into an amethyst. Additionally, the precious stone is the emblem of Saint Matthias. Likewise, they are numerous biblical references to amethysts. It was one of the twelve precious stones set into the chief priest Aaron’s breastplate.

Until fairly recently, genuine amethysts were prized and given the same status as diamonds. However, after massive deposits of the stones were discovered across South America and other locations, the stones abundance significantly increased. This overabundance leads to the diminishing intrinsic value of the stone, however, it doesn’t detract from the natural beauty of the gem.

Amethyst Ring Buying Guide

In centuries past, an amethyst would only be in financial reach of the nobility. Nowadays, the story is somewhat different, the gem is incredibly popular and accessible, owing in part to the cost of the stone, but also due to its enduring aesthetic appeal. What makes the amethyst stand out against its gemstone piers is the fact that the stones cost does not exponentially increase as the carat value of the stone goes up, for example a 2ct amethyst will most often cost twice as much as a 1ct amethyst, while the same cannot be said for a ruby or diamond. Instead, the value of an amethyst depends largely on its shading. It’s worth noting that there is no internationally recognised grading system, so it’s vital to understand what to look for when buying an amethyst ring.

Colour Matters

Amethyst colours can vary greatly from gemstone to gemstone, ranging from a deep rich crimson-purple through to pale lilac. Additionally, the clarity can range from crystal clear to a translucent quartz. Most jewellery makers prefer a rosy purple to subdued purple, as long as the gem's brilliance is not adversely affected. In extreme cases, an extremely dark and dim gem may look black, which of course has its own appeal.

A gem with brown or earthy tints within the purple hue, or a stone with any easily identifiable shading zoning, is intrinsically worth less than a stone without these defects. Any wholesaler purchasing these stones in bulk will most often inspect the stones for such flaws, which is facilitated by having the jewels against a solid white background.

The ‘ideal’ amethyst would be a deeply set purple shade, with negligible or non-existent shading edging. The stone will look positively brilliant in natural sunlight, possibly less so under synthetic lighting. The rich purple hue will be strikingly vibrant, taking on an opulent purple which might be accompanied by flashes of rose colouring. An amethyst with a light shading or which has areas of light or subdued purple hues is intrinsically less valuable. Perhaps the most sought-after and valuable amethyst originate from Siberia, these gems are often deeply purpled with brilliant flashes of red and blue.

Luster and Lucidity

Amethysts are classified as a type 2 gemstone. A type 2 gemstone would generally expect to have a couple of incorporations and are most often no ‘eye clean’. This means that a jewellery quality gem could be expected to have some incorporations which are visible to the naked eye, having said that there’s a good chance an untrained eye would be unable to notice such flaws. An ‘eye clean’ gem is of course generally speaking worth more than a similarly shaded gem which includes incorporations.

The majority of the faceted amethyst market is ‘eye clean’. Stones originating from Africa, and in particular from Zambia, have a unique and beautiful raspberry shading. They also have a tendency to have more incorporations, at least compared to such stones from other regions, for example, Brazil. However, it is widely accepted that the profound shading makes up for any perceived flaws, and the gems are often sought for faceted stones. Any ‘eye clean’ gems with the same raspberry shading would be highly sought after.

Amethysts with profound eye noticeable flaws, but with beautiful shading are not discarded, these will often find their way into jewellery as beads or cabochons. Such beads and cabochons with brilliant shading and lucidity can fetch a premium price tag at a market. On occasions, an amethyst may undergo crack repairing treatment in order to increase the gem's value and lucidity.

Cut Gems

Just like other gemstones, amethysts can be cut into a range of shapes and designs. For example, ovals, circles, emerald cuts, cushions, pears, triangles and much more besides. Designs are dictated by fashions and changing tastes over time, however, triangular and kite shaped designs, which are also known as splendid cuts, are increasingly popular choices. The preferred cut or shape is, of course, a very personal choice, there is no right or wrong option.

Amethysts are also particularly well suited to custom or freestyle cuts and shapes, owing largely to their availability and the forgiving nature of the stone. The cutting can be accomplished by both traditional manual methods or with the assistance of modern day electronic tools. The appeal of a custom cut gemstone is undeniable, it offers the purchaser a way to have a unique piece of jewellery unlike any other piece in the world. It’s also possible to have a gem carved or engraved with something significant for the wearer, whether that’s carving the gem into the shape of an exotic animal or engraving the initials of a loved one, the options are endless.

Gem Carat Weight

Amethysts come in a range of sizes and weights, and are particularly well suited for large centre stones since the value of the stone does not increase dramatically increase as the size of the stone increased. Most amethyst jewellery purchased will be found in adjusted cuts, this basically means the gems are cut to industry sizes.

Gem Cleaning

An amethyst ring can be cleaned with warmed water and a very mild cleaning agent, a soft bristled brush can then be used to clean any nooks and crannies. After cleaning, the ring should be gently patted dry and allowed to air dry thoroughly before being stored or worn. Alternatively, the ring may also be cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner. Please bear in mind that amethyst rings should not be exposed to direct sunlight for any length of time, the sun will have a bleaching effect over time, causing the purple colouring to pale. You should never heat the ring excessively or use a steam cleaner.

Amethyst Ring Conclusion

If you don’t have the budget for a natural amethyst ring, you can opt for a manufactured gemstone instead. It’s worth keeping in mind that a manufactured amethyst will rarely have the same reflective qualities or deeply engrained hues that are possible in a natural stone. Any manufactured stone should be labelled as such, so it should be relatively straightforward to easily identify a natural stone from a lab-made variant. The majority of natural stones originate from Brazil, Austria, Russia, Zambia and South Korea.

Some jewellers may work to enhance the shade of an amethyst with what’s called warmth treatment. This can in some circumstances turn the stone slightly yellow, brown, red, uncoloured or occasionally green. If the stone is no longer purple, then this process might be the cause.

If you want a wonderfully unique and fashionable ring, then choose an amethyst ring.

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