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Shades of Amethyst Jewelry

The simple presence of manganese means the difference between the basic clear quartz and the lovely purple-hued amethyst. Its range of colors, determined by the amount of iron, runs from a near colorless lilac hue to a rich purple-red hue and all shades in between.

Just like quartz, the amethyst is made up of silicon dioxide. They form in many different ways. They may grow as a crystal-like crust covering rock, inside geodes or in alluvial deposits around lakes, rivers and streams.

Heat treatment is a common practice to bring out and enhance the colors of many types of gemstones. It is likely that amethyst earrings and any other contemporary pieces have been heat-treated to a deeper purple. Heated to a high enough temperature and for long enough and an amethyst actually creates a citrine which is yellow.

Amethyst Jewelry: An abundance of quartz

Quartz is abundant across the globe, but amethyst is the most valuable member of the family. The majority of the gem quality stones used to come out of Siberia but the deposits there have been exhausted. Contemporary amethyst jewelry likely originates from Brazil or Zambia. Other significant mines are found in Madagascar, Bolivia and Uruguay. That being said, amethyst can be found in different grades all over the world.

Because it is so abundant, an amethyst bracelet can be quite an affordable accessory. While rarity and rarity of sizable stones adds value to other gemstones, like tanzanite, amethyst is plentiful in all sizes including large stones. Because of that, their value is rated by color. Though color is strictly a personal preference, there are certain shades deemed more desirable and thus more valuable in the gemological and jewelry industry as well as with collectors. Named for the mines it was originally associated with, the "Siberian" hue of deep purple with flashy undertones of blue or red bring the highest price.

Stones that donít make the grade are either cut into figurines and other knick knacks. Some are cut into cabochon or beads where the flaws arenít readily visible as they would be with a faceted cut amethyst pendant or other jewelry piece.

Amethyst Jewelry: Special occasions

An amethyst birthstone ring is a common gift in February as it is the official gemstone for that month. It is also the healing stone for February on the Ayurvedic Chart. Other special occasions that are commemorated with the amethyst are the 4th, 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries. Of course, it also makes a great gift for the girl who loves purple!

Amethyst Jewelry: Lore

Like all gemstones, there are lots of lore and legend surrounding the amethyst. It has a presence in mythology and the Bible as well as holding mystical powers and healing properties associated with these purple gemstones. It's no wonder that the ancients attached such romantic and magical connotations to the various sparkling colored stones they encountered.

One of the more colorful stories involves the origin of its name. The Greek word "amethystos" basically means "not drunk." Interestingly enough, the storyís key player is Bacchus, the Greek God of Wine and general revelry. Bacchus had had it with humans and so he threatened that the next one he saw would be attacked by tigers. A young woman named Amethyst had the misfortune to that human. But, because she was on her way to the Goddess Dianaís temple to worship, Diana intervened and turned her into a pillar of quartz as protection. Bacchus, of course, was remorseful afterwords and as an act of repentance, he poured wine over the clear quartz figure staining it purple.

With this story, it makes sense that the ancients began to believe that an amethyst cup, amethyst necklace or some other piece using the stone would prevent them from becoming intoxicated.

Aside from protecting the wearer from intoxication, it was also believed that this gemstone aids in symptoms of insomnia, headaches and even mental disorders. Overall, it is supposed to protect against one's enemies in battle.

Amethyst Jewelry: Cleaning and care

Like all quartz, an amethyst ring ranks a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, with 10 being the highest and the designation for diamond. A 7 is still a pretty durable stone. The only real threat is extreme temperature changes so cleaning it in an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer is not recommended. This is because of the heat treatment that enhances the color. Just a simple soak in warm water with gentle soap is sufficient to clean the stone. Use a toothbrush to get the dirt out of the setting. Even though it is fairly hard, it can be chipped, cracked or broken if hit hard enough and in just the right spot.

Amethyst jewelry looks fabulous in any kind of setting. Silver and platinum settings tend to set off the stone even better. Whether it is a translucent lilac or a reddish-purple stone, there is a shade for every personality and wardrobe.