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An introduction to Amethyst

What is Amethyst?

Amethyst is a semi-precious gemstone filled with character and steeped in historical references - not to mention, it's rather eye-catching.

No two Amethyst gemstones are the same, but what is consistent is that it is a member of the quartz family of minerals. An unusual quirk of this particular stone is that its unique structure means that the colour of the stones that are cut from the rough are never uniform in shade - you will always get a nice variety of shades of violet or purple in your Amethyst gemstones.

What are the origins of Amethyst?

The etymology of the name of the gemstone itself derives from the Greek amethystos, which, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica, is linked to avoiding intoxication. The general belief is that drinking vessels that were carved out of or at least studded with the violet stone would help the drinker avoid getting drunk, even from tipples on the stronger side.

This kind of protectionism is typical of many gemstones of the world - the likes of Moonstone was used in Ancient Greece to protect travellers and soldiers whilst they were out on the road at night.

What are the historic uses of Amethyst?

Usages of this impressive gemstone are known to date back to the Ancient Egyptians, but it is so widely available that it has been used for jewellery and ornaments all over the world. The natural crystals of Amethyst are so striking in appearance that they are used as often as ornaments in homes as they are as jewellery for the finishing touches to all kinds of outfits.

The Egyptians, along with other ancient civilisations, are thought to have favoured Amethyst as intaglios, which means that they used them to carve designs into the surface for that added dash of style and elegance. Other ancient societies used the stone to give power to businessmen who required an extra helping hand to secure their trade deals. Its abilities to calm tensions and improve negotiation skills made it a must-have out on business trips back then.

Where is Amethyst sourced?

Some sources are known for higher quality Amethyst - in fact, similarly to Amazonite, much of the world's finest Amethyst is thought to be located in Russia. The most desirable and collectible form of the stone is known as 'Deep Russian', which is incredibly rare and, therefore, highly sought after amongst enthusiasts. It can be sourced all over the world, from India to Tibet and South America to South Korea, so it has not exactly been in short supply over the centuries.

Interestingly, the deposits of Amethyst in Brazil are so abundant that they are actually responsible for the change in its status of rubbing shoulders with the finest stones in the world. Until the 18th century, it was regarded to be as stylish and prestigious as Diamond, Ruby, Emerald and Sapphire - that was until huge deposits of it were discovered in Brazil, so it became more abundant than was originally thought. Amethyst can also be found in Canada and the USA, with the latter's South Carolina adopting it as its official state gemstone.

Is Amethyst a birthstone?

Given its associations with love and romance, it may be no surprise to learn that Amethyst is the traditional birthstone of February - the month of Valentine's Day. It is, in fact, the stone of St Valentine himself. This means that it has been used to express great faith and love between people in many a civilisation over the years and its strength in that regard is certainly not going to be waning any time soon.

How is Amethyst worn?

Amethyst is a gentle and delicate gemstone that doesn't overpower any look, so it is often used to add an understated touch of colour as and when it's needed in necklaces, rings and earrings. It can sometimes come in a deeper shade of purple or violet, which is when it can be added to an outfit of block colours to stand out a little more, but it is even then still humble enough to act as a complement as opposed to a dominant centrepiece.

Amethyst at Monica Vinader

We source a range of high-quality Amethyst at Monica Vinader to give you the peace of mind that you can add the beautiful gemstone to your collection in a number of different ways.

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