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Birthstone of February

The word amethyst comes from the Greek word "amethystos" meaning "not drunk," and was believed to prevent its wearers from intoxication. Excerpts from two articles about amethysts are below and on page 4. Follow the internet links provided for more information.

Amethyst - All About The Purple Gemstone By Gemstone Guru (http://gemstoneguru.com/)

Amethysts are a purple variety of quartz. The coloring is thought to be the result of natural impurities (most likely to be iron and some trace elements). Given that Quartz is probably one of the most plentiful minerals on Earth, Amethysts, one of the most precious forms of Quartz are widely available. Large pieces with great clarity are relatively easy to find and make for excellent cost effective additions to your gemstone collection.

A variety of hues are available, from light purple with a pinkish glow, through to deep purple. Whilst tastes in color do vary over time, usually the deeper and more intense purple stones are considered the most valuable. The finest stones display a deep purple color with flashes of red in incandescent light.

Heat treatment is often applied to Amethysts to intensify and deepen their purple hue, with imitations and synthetics also present in the market place. Given that sometimes the cost of testing can exceed the price of the gemstone, care should be taken to buy from reputed dealers and have larger stones tested by an independent gem Laboratory.

On the whole, most Amethysts have quite poor clarity, with clouding from intrusions or strong bands of other minerals. This may detract from their value, but a notable and unique piece can still be crafted with the right choice of stone and precision of cut. However, as a common gemstone, it is fairly easy to find large pieces with near-perfect clarity. As such, you should avoid stones with visible inclusions even if you are operating on a smaller budget.

Gem Specifics:

Specific Gravity: 2.63 - 2.65 (this is variable in impure varieties)

Chemical Composition: Silicon dioxide, SiO2 with iron impurities, Fe4+

Refractive Index: 1.54 - 1.55

Hardness: 7

Popular Cuts

As the Amethyst is a common gemstone, you will find it in a wide variety of cuts. Princess and Emerald cuts are two of the most popular for Amethysts, but any cut that shows off the gem's unique properties and emphasizes its clarity is worthwhile.>/p>

A well-cut Amethyst is truly beautiful and dazzling. It will be sparkling, well-polished, and incredibly bright as Amethyst reflects a lot of light. A good cut will be symmetrical with angles meeting perfectly together, and the facets will be well-polished and smooth.

Unique pieces are often made from this gemstone to capitalize on individual faults and create "character" pieces. Depending on the craftsmanship, some of these are very beautiful, while others are not such a hit. A poorly cut Amethyst will contain uneven angles, dull luster, and strange shapes. Given that it can take several hours to achieve a good cut, the cost of labor can sometimes make a well cut Amethyst expensive.

Uses, History & Mythology

In crystal healing, Amethysts are an incredibly useful gemstone as they are said to focus psychic energy. In connection with the Greek myth, they are said to protect against drunkenness, fear and guilt. Physically, wearing Amethyst can supposedly heal respiratory and circulatory problems, relieve headaches, help to break addictions, and advances spirituality.

Whatever your motivation, be it spirit or style, Amethysts are truly a worthy addition to any gemstone or gemstone jewelry collection.

Geographic distribution

Amethyst is produced in abundance from the state of Minas Gerais in Brazil where it occurs in large geodes within volcanic rocks. Many of the hollow agates of southwestern Brazil and Uruguay contain a crop of amethyst crystals in the interior.

Amethyst occurs at many localities in the United States. Among these may be mentioned: the Mazatzal Mountain region in Gila and Maricopa Counties, Arizona; Red Feather Lakes, near Ft Collins, Colorado; Amethyst Mountain, Texas; Yellowstone National Park; Delaware County, Pennsylvania; Haywood County, North Carolina; Deer Hill and Stow, Maine and in the Lake Superior region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario in Canada.

Amethyst is relatively common in Ontario, and in various locations throughout Nova Scotia. The largest amethyst mine in North America is located in Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Information and amethyst photos courtesy Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amethyst

Via Petrified Digest 02/13

Via North Idaho Mineral Council 02/13