Amethyst: The Royal Gemstone - ICKINGER |
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History and Features of the Amethyst Birthstone


Origins of the Amethyst:


The amethyst is the official birthstone for the month of February. Known as the Royal Gem, it has been used by numerous monarchies throughout the ages for healing and fine jewellery.

Its history dates back thousands of years to the Ancient Greeks. The name amethyst stems from the Greek word “amethystos” which literally translates to “not drunken”. According to Greek mythology, the amethyst has the power to prevent inebriation and therefore prevented one from becoming intoxicated.

A more romanticised myth is the tale of Dionysus, the God of wine and merriment, who was so angry after being insulted by a human that he decided to exact vengeance on the next mortal who crossed his path. That mortal happened to be Amethyst. He unleashed two tigers to attack her.

Amethyst cried out to the Goddess Diana for help who responded by turning her into a clear quartz statue to protect her. However, while protected from the attack, the spell couldn’t be broken. Dionysus, consumed with regret, started weeping. His tears fell into his goblet of wine, which spilt onto the statue causing it to turn into the purple gem known as Amethyst.


Characteristics of an Amethyst Gemstone:


Amethyst is a type of macro-crystalline quartz identified by its colour, which can range from pale lilac to violet, to a dark purple.

Amethyst gets its colour from the iron in its crystalline structure. Gamma radiation in the surrounding rock irradiates the quartz. The iron minerals are consequently irradiated as well, producing its purple colour.

The colour is its most important quality. The deeper the hue, the higher the price tag. The most coveted amethyst is the Siberian Amethyst. It has a deep violet hue with blue and red inflections visible with the naked eye. They are extremely rare and valuable.

It has a hardness rating of 7 on the Mohs scale and does not break or cleavage. This affords it great durability and strength, making it suitable for jewellery and frequent use.


Types of Amethyst Gemstones:


There are three main types of amethyst stones:


    1. Bi-Colour Amethyst, also called Ametrine, occurs when citrine naturally combines with amethyst due to environmental changes. This results in a stone with two contrasting colours.

    2. Prasiolite is an amethyst that has naturally been heat-treated to change its colour. They are found in varying shades of green with subtle hints of yellow and sometimes purple as well.

    3. The Lavender Amethyst, or Rose De France Amethyst, has a more delicate colour and are often found in shades of pastel lilac and pink.



Choosing and caring for your Amethyst gemstones


Considerations when choosing an Amethyst:


When choosing an amethyst gemstone, it will depend on the type of bespoke jewellery it will be used in.

However, there are four key considerations to take into account to help you find the perfect stone:


    Colour – amethysts are highly prized for their mesmerizing purple colour. The tone and hue of the stone is therefore by far the most important element to consider. As a general rule, the darker the colour, the higher the value. The most valuable amethysts are those that have a deep reddish violet colour with good transparency. There should also be little to no visible colour zoning, which is when a stone has several shades in one stone.

    Clarity – amethysts are revered for its clarity and transparency. They should not have any visible inclusions or fractures as it detracts from the stone’s brilliance, subsequently lowering its value.

    Cut – when assessing an amethyst, the cut will be a significant factor to consider. The value of the stone increases in direct relation to its size. There are many suitable cuts for amethysts. A cut’s main purpose is to bring out the stone’s brilliance and allow it to sparkle.

    Carats – all gemstones are weighed in carats. The carat weight refers to the size of the stone. Amethysts are available in several sizes and carat weights so pricing can vary from stone to stone. While not always the case, the value of the stone tends to increase as its size does.


How to properly clean and care for your Amethyst:


Like all gemstones, amethysts need to be cleaned and cared for to maintain its lustre. Their hardness makes them fairly durable. However, avoid contact with extreme heat and prolonged exposure to light as this will degrade the colour. A mild soap solution in warm water and a soft brush is sufficient to clean this stone. A gentle scrub is all that’s necessary to properly clean it. Rinse it thoroughly and dry with a soft cloth.

For help with caring for your custom made jewellery, please reach out to Ickinger for assistance.


Making the cut


Selecting the best cut for your gemstone:


Gemstones can be cut into a variety of designs. From standard to fantasy cuts to freeform form designs, the list of possibilities is almost endless. The main purpose of cutting a gemstone is to highlight its inherent features. The cut is meant to dazzle and amaze while showcasing the stone’s brilliance.

Due to its alluring shade of purple, amethysts are often cut to showcase its colour. Faceting a stone will allow more light to enter the stone. Many amethysts have visible inclusions and colour. An experienced jeweller may sometimes cut the stone in a certain way to hide these flaws. While this may make it more aesthetically appealing, it lowers the value of the stone.

When amethysts have colour zoning or inclusions, they are often cut into cabochons. This process of polishing and shaping reveals a stone’s flaws and often results in fascinating patterns.

Varieties of gemstone cuts:


    1· The Cushion or Old Miner’s Cut has a square with rounded edges. This is a traditional cut that highlights the gem’s fabulous lustre and brilliance.

    2· The Emerald Cut has a rectangular shape with clipped corners. It emphasises the stone’s colour and clarity. This cut is ideal for lighter coloured gems as it reflects light better.

    3· A Marquise cut has an elongated shape, similar to an American football. The main feature if this cut is its ability to reflect light in a way that maximises the stone’s colour and sparkle.

    4· The Princess Cut has a square shape. Its many facets allow light to effortlessly bounce off the stone, creating a magnificent sparkle.

    5· The Pear Cut has a teardrop shape and its many facets allow it to showcase a gemstone’s vibrant colour while reflecting light exquisitely.

    6· The Briolette cut is similar to a Pear cut but has multiple triangular facets. The triangular facets allow it to reflect abundant light resulting in an amazing display of colour.

    7· The Round Cut, the most popular cut, has the remarkable ability to highlight a stone’s brilliance and sparkle.


Common cuts for custom made jewellery:


Amethysts were one of the most coveted gemstones amongst royalty. It has been used to adorn fine jewellery for centuries. From pendants and talismans to one-of-a-kind brooches, this stone would make an amazing centrepiece for your next piece of custom made jewellery.

Rings – Amethysts are a great choice as an alternative to traditional gem choices. With the correct cut, it is sure to sparkle and show off its amazing brilliance. Suitable cuts for rings would be the traditional round and oval cuts. The cushion or marquise cut would also be an exceptional choice.

Necklaces – Encrusting a necklace with amethyst gemstones would have a stunning effect. The stones would need to smaller so the round and marquise cut would be a great choice to showcase the stone’s sparkle.

Pendants – Making an amethyst the focal point of a pendant will give it an elegant, almost antique look. Since the stone will be the centrepiece, it needs to have dazzling colour and sparkle. Good choices of cuts would, therefore, be the pear, marquise and for something a bit unconventional, the princess cut.

Earrings – Amethysts would work exceptionally well in a pair of earrings. Its alluring colour would look majestic and make an amazing gift for your significant other. The pear, marquise, briolette and rounds cuts are phenomenal choices to highlight the stone’s colour.

Bracelets – Amethysts are said to have various healing properties and bestow abundant luck. They alleviate anxiety and help promote balance and longevity. This would make it an endearing and thoughtful gift for a loved one. Suitable cuts for a bracelet would be the classic round, oval and marquise cuts.

Brooches – Although somewhat antiquated, a brooch would still make a stunning piece of fine jewellery. They can be intricately designed or tastefully simple. Either way, a brooch is a great way to showcase your amethyst gemstone. Suitable cuts for a brooch are the round, oval and marquise cuts. For a more antique look, the emerald and cushion cut would be an amazing option.



Finding your first Amethyst Gemstone:


Amethysts are fine gemstones for custom made jewellery. They have long been associated with opulence and royalty and their various shades of purple certainly look majestic.

These stones are found in abundance all over the world, making them relatively inexpensive. Its hardness also affords it great strength and durability.

An amethyst is also considered a symbol of peace, love and unification. These are endearing qualities that make an amazing gift for a loved one. A large pendant would be the perfect piece of fine jewellery to showcase its mesmerising deep colour. A pair of earrings would also be a stunning setting to show off your amethyst.

Earrings will allow these gems to sparkle and shine in all its glory. Ickinger has several options available and a great team of professionals ready to create bespoke jewellery that suits your every need.

Although somewhat unconventional, you may like to consider an amethyst gemstone as a centrepiece in an engagement ring. The luxurious purple colour will have an outstanding appearance and allow you to choose a ring that is as unique as your partner.

While not crucially important, the type of metal will have an impact on how your gemstone is displayed. The metal you choose is entirely based on preference but each metal will highlight your amethyst differently. Silver coloured metals like white gold, platinum and palladium will showcase the stone’s colour and brilliance more dramatically. While yellow gold will give it an elegant antique look and rose gold will have a more contemporary feel to it.

Whatever piece of jewellery you choose, remember to choose an amethyst that has a deep purple shade and has a cut with many facets to allow it to sparkle from all angles.

Ickinger is an industry leader in bespoke jewellery. Our team of experts are passionate about turning your vision into reality. We are meticulous and work with a high level of care and attention to detail.

For more information on choosing a Amethyst gemstone, please feel free to get in touch with us at Ickinger as we are more than happy to help.