Our apologies for the delay in the delivery of your monthly, non-birthstone featured gemstone! We held off on sharing the GotM so we could let everyone know about our efforts for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, but the wait is over!
For September we're featuring the purple gem that doesn't get enough credit… amethyst!
Here are our top three reasons why amethyst is worthy of the spotlight this month:
1. A Rich History
You may already know our history books associate the color purple with royalty, so it may not surprise you that amethyst has been used in crown jewels and was highly valued for ages. Before the 19th century, amethyst was even valued right alongside ruby and emerald.
But amethysts value started long before then. Saint Valentine, the patron saint of romantic love, apparently wore an amethyst ring that had cupid carved into it. Early Greek legends associate it with Bacchus, the god of wine, because of its wine-like, reddish purple hues. Because of this, it was even believed to prevent drunkenness! Legend says that this purple stone “kept its wearer clear-headed and quick witted in battle and in business.”
Now, amethyst in its natural crystal form is often used for its metaphysical properties. According to The Crystal Vaults, it carries the energy of passion, creativity, and spirituality while bearing the logic of temperance and sobriety. In reading about the uses of this precious crystal nowadays, you can clearly see how amethyst is tied to its lore.
2. Gorgeous Affordability
Amethyst is a variety of quartz, which is one of the most predominant minerals on the planet. You can find large amethyst geodes in pretty much every rock and mineral shop around the world. This makes sense, because it grows naturally in so many places globally.
It grows into extremely large crystals; for example, the GIA Museum once displayed an amethyst crystal that weighed 164 lbs. This allows lapidaries enough raw material to play with different cuts and styles and produce large cut gems for unique and bold jewelry pieces. The huge amount of availability for amethyst keep its cost down, so you can get so much more for your money. However, if you did decide to go with an artistic, designer cut you’d pay a significant premium for the lapidary’s time and expertise.
As with any gemstone, there is a range of prices. One of the biggest quality factors when it comes to amethyst is color. Depth of color is hugely important, as amethyst can range from very light lilac to a very deep purple. Amethyst also exhibits color zoning, which reduces the monetary value of the stone. In terms of clarity, most faceted amethyst is “eye-clean” which means you cannot see any inclusions with the naked eye. Although it is rarer to see gems that have inclusions, they would be considered lower quality and come at a lower cost than eye-clean stones.
3. Homegrown World Class Quality
Although amethyst comes from all over the world, some of the highest quality gems are mined right here in the United States. For Geralyn Sheridan Designs, this is an important factor because we highly value buying American and shopping local.
Of the top states for gem mining in the United States, amethyst is most often found in Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Maine. Other amethyst deposits are found in Pennsylvania, the Carolinas, and Montana. Generally, amethysts found in the US range from medium to high color saturation, making them higher quality in that respect.
Some of the most notable USA mines for amethyst are Jackson’s Crossroads in Georgia, Emerald Hollow Mine in North Carolina, and our personal favorite: the Four Peaks Mine in Arizona. In fact, each amethyst pictured in this post came from Four Peaks!
Want to learn more about other gems and gemology in general? Check out our Gemology page!