AMETHYST: The February Birthstone | Boca Raton, FL
AMETHYST | Boca Raton, FL
The Birthstone of February
If you were born in February, your birthstone is amethyst. Amethyst is also the gem traditionally given for the sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversaries. The essence of the color purple, amethyst is beautiful enough for crown jewels yet affordable enough for class rings.
This gemstone was believed to prevent intoxication because the name “amethyst” derives from the Greek amethystos, which means “a remedy against drunkenness,” a benefit long ascribed to the purple birthstone. Because of its wine-like color, early Greek mythology associated the gem with Bacchus, the god of wine. Amethyst was also believed to keep the wearer clear headed and quick witted in battle and business affairs.
Where is Amethyst Found?
Amethyst was as expensive and rare as an emerald or ruby until the 19th Century when large deposits of it were discovered in Brazil. Today it is the most valued of the Quartz family and is found in Russia, Brazil, Uruguay, Madagascar, Zambia and parts of the United States.
Amethyst Quality Factors
Amethyst has been the most-prized quartz variety for centuries. Once available only to royalty, relatively plentiful supplies have made amethyst more widely available in modern times. Today, because of its availability and affordability, amethyst is used in mass-market jewelry as well as custom designer pieces. This makes amethyst one of the world’s most popular colored gems and the most commercially important gem-quality quartz variety.
Amethyst is the purple variety of the quartz mineral species. It’s the gem that’s most commonly associated with the color purple, even though there are other purple gems such as sapphire and tanzanite. Assessment of the following characteristics determines amethyst’s value.
The finest amethyst color is a strong reddish purple or purple with no visible color zoning. Dealers prefer strongly saturated reddish purple to dark purple, as long as the stone is not so dark that it reduces brightness. If the color is too dark, an amethyst might look black under dim lighting conditions. Any brownish or bronze-colored tints in an amethyst’s purple color, or any noticeable color zoning, lower its value dramatically. Buyers of loose amethysts view color zoning by placing the gems table-down against a white background. Many amethysts display a weak, light color or have strong zones of lighter and darker purple color. These factors lower the value of these stones. Heat treatment can lighten the color of very dark amethyst. Lower-quality light-colored amethyst and even light-colored quartz have been dyed to impart a purple color.
Much of the faceted amethyst in the market is eye-clean, meaning it lacks eye-visible inclusions. African material, especially from Zambia, can be a highly saturated raspberry color. It tends to have more inclusions than Brazilian material. However, due to its remarkable color, this is considered acceptable in a faceted stone. Eye-clean material of the same color is more valuable. Amethysts with eye-visible inclusions but attractive color are usually cut as cabochons or fashioned into beads. Cabochons and beads that display fine color and high clarity sell at a substantial premium.
Amethyst is cut into a variety of standard shapes and cutting styles. These include rounds, ovals, pears, emerald cuts, triangles, marquises, cushions, and others. Facet patterns include the classic triangular and kite-shaped facet arrangements called brilliant cuts, rows of concentric parallel facets called step cuts, and mixed cuts that combine both facet arrangements.
Amethyst is also a very popular gem for cutting into a variety of freeform shapes. This is done by hand or by automated cutting. These so-called fantasy or designer cuts can be mass produced or created as one-of-a-kind pieces. They sometimes display concave faceting, where normally flat facets have a concave shape. Other types of cuts and carvings are also found, including carvings of animals and other objects.
AMETHYST CARAT WEIGHT
Amethyst is available in all size ranges for setting into a variety of jewelry styles. It’s popular as a large center stone since the price per carat does not rise dramatically with larger size. Amethyst is also commonly found in calibrated cuts, which means they’re cut precisely to standard industry sizes, in all qualities.
Caring for Your Amethyst
If you have already invested in a gorgeous piece of amethyst jewelry, you'll want it to last a lifetime. But don't worry because caring for amethyst is a relatively easy process. You can keep your amethyst beautiful by following these simple care and cleaning guidelines.
Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that it is appropriate for daily use in rings and other jewelry, but over time it may show wear and require repolishing. Because this February birthstone is more susceptible to damage than harder gems such as rubies, sapphires and diamonds, you risk scratching your amethyst jewelry if you place it next to these harder stones.
AMETHYST CARE AND CLEANING
Amethyst birthstone jewelry can be professionally cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner, but steam cleaning is not recommended. A soft brush with mild soap is the safest option. Warm soapy water is always safe.
Amethyst is rarely treated, but might have fractures. Only clean fracture-filled gemstones with warm, soapy water.
Amethyst Jewelry in Boca Raton
Amethyst, the February birthstone, can be found in the collections of royal families throughout Europe and Asia. Now it’s within reach of most consumers. Amethyst has been used in jewelry for centuries, and being the durable gemstone it is, it can be used to form all types of jewelry. Ranging in color from a subtle pale pastel to a gorgeous, rich velvety deep purple they can be easily set in all colors of gold.
If your birthday is in February, then wearing a piece of amethyst jewelry in Boca Raton, can also be a symbol of personal empowerment and inner strength. Stop by our jewelry store in Boca Raton to view our selection of amethyst jewelry.