Lovely, lovely Amethyst! One of the best selling gemstones and not without good reason…
Amethyst, was known by the Greeks as the ‘Sobriety Stone’ because they thought it prevented drunkenness & decorated their drinking cups with it; Greek Amethystos = not intoxicated!
This beautiful purple stone has been fashioned into jewellery for yonks. We know this as amethyst beads have been found in Anglo-Saxon graves. Right up until the Eighteenth century it was considered precious; a cardinal stone – along with rubies, emeralds & diamonds. However, once a motherload was found, its value, of course decreased!
As a fairly hard type of Quartz, amethyst is excellent for carving into & cutting as the image of Roman, Caracalla shows beautifully! This intaglio or carving into the flat face of a gemstone is an ancient and luxurious art form that we can still appreciate today.
Generally speaking we think of amethyst as purple or violet in colour. This colouration comes from irradiation/iron impurities within the quartz. If heat is applied it’s quite easy to alter its colour apparently. Often, green quartz is mistakenly called green amethyst and it’s quite easy to ‘lab grow’ and quite difficult to test whether or not it’s natural. Best sources for the deeply purple hued crystals these days come from Siberia, Brazil & Sri Lanka but it is found in LOTS of places all over the world.
It is lovely set into silver and remains a best seller – there must be something about purple…or perhaps just a lot of folk born in February!