Amazing Amethyst: 20 reasons this ultimate all-rounder deserves a place in your jewellery box
1.The master-healer, amethyst is thought to be helpful in resolving almost any issue and enhancing the overall experience of life on all levels. Meditative and calming it promotes spiritual and emotional balance and peace.
2. St. Valentine purportedly wore an amethyst intaglio ring carved with putti or Cupid, which surely makes it an inspired choice for a special Valentines Day gift.
3. Its the birthstone for February and represents the 6th and 17th wedding anniversaries.
4. Amethyst necklaces have been found in Egypt dating back to the 8th century B.C.
5. In ancient Greece, it was associated with the god Bacchus - god of wine - and was worn to guard against intoxication. This is also where it gained its name as ametusthos is the greek for not intoxicated.
6. Good quality amethysts should, in general, be clear of eye-visible inclusions.
7. Amethyst is the most valuable variant of quartz due to its rare colour in terms of gemstones. There are relatively few gemstones of true purple.
8. Its purple colour comes from iron and a combination of other trace minerals within the quartz structure.
9. The colour purple is often associated with royalty as purple was traditionally a very costly and lengthy colour to reproduce. In Imperial Rome, the use of purple was strictly regulated and by the fourth century AD, only the emperor was allowed to wear the best purple. The colour's exclusivity and connection with power is why royal robes and the vestments of bishops have traditionally been purple.
10. Found in shades from deepest indigo to electric ultra-violet and on to the prettiest lilacs. The Romans favoured the deepest tones, whilst today the most valued hues tend towards strongly saturated bluish-purple to true violet purple. Brownish tones are not considered desirable.
11. Zambian amethyst tends to appear as a raspberry-purple colour and is more likely to contain inclusions, but inclusions are considered quite acceptable in Zambian amethyst and do not affect the value at all, thanks to its gorgeous hues.
12. Whilst it is the most valued of the quartz family, it is very affordable. Whilst it was once as expensive as diamonds, rubies and emeralds, you can now find lovely specimens for relatively little cost, thanks to the discovery of large deposits in Brazil in the 19th century and later on in Zambia.
13. Really high-quality specimens still command high prices though; lets not forget that this is a stone thats prominent in many different countries crown jewels including an enormous amethyst in our own Sovereigns Sceptre with the Cross and Queen Victorias rare amethyst demi-parure - The Kent-Amethyst Demi-Parure. Queen Silvia of Swedens tiara is set with amethysts originally owned by Napoleons infamous Empress, Josephine. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway also owns a stunning amethyst tiara.
14. The Kent-Amethyst Demi Parure was originally owned by Queen Victorias Mother, the Duchess of Kent and has been passed down from Queen to Queen. The set contains a necklace, earrings, three brooches and a pair of hair-combs and was designed to make a statement. The necklace appears to comprise of several large cabochon and hexagonal amethysts and three pendant amethysts arranged to drop from the lower part of the necklace. Each of the large cabochons is set with a diamond halo, whilst the hexagonal stones are with diamond sunrays to one side and diamond scrolls to the other.
15. Perhaps another reason why royals are fond of using this gemstone in crowns and tiaras is its association with the crown chakra and reported ability to quicken intelligence, improve intellect and encourage clarity of thought, especially when worn close to the head.
16. Whilst a tiara might be a little impractical for daily wear, you could try wearing amethyst close to your head as earrings or a necklace. If youre feeling particularly boho why not wear a necklace encircling your head, perhaps with an amethyst dropper draped on your forehead (be sure to stock up on bobby-pins to keep it in place though!).
17. Amethyst crystals can be huge; one of the largest single crystals mined weighed in at 164 pounds. Thats a whopping 11.71 stones.
18. The size of its crystals makes it very popular with lapidarists and designers for cutting into free-form or fantasy shapes, as they dont have to be too cautious about saving carats.
19. The Kariba mine in southern Zambia is the worlds largest amethyst mine, but deposits are also found in Brazil, Uruguay, Arizona (USA) and Lapland (Finland).
20. Fancy digging for your own amethyst? Lampivaara mine in Lapland welcomes visitors and offers tours which include the opportunity to take away your own hand-dug specimen. And once youve unearthed your own gem, we can help you craft it into your own unique design.