amethystAmethyst is the name given to the purple varieties of quartz, from the pale lilacs to intense purples with lively red flashes. The term ‘green amethyst’ is in fact a misnomer and it should be called by its correct name praisolite or green quartz.

Green quartz, smoky quartz and citrine can all be created by treating amethyst with either heat or irradiation, but do also exist naturally.

Amethyst can be found in all sizes from incredibly small to the enormous geodes often found in Brazil.  It’s found in many localities all over the world from South America to Africa, Europe and Asia and by gemstone standards it is fairly common, although fine specimens are highly valued.

Ancient lore had it that amethyst could protect from drunkenness, and the name amethyst comes from the Greek word “amethystos” which means “not drunk” – although I can attest that unfortunately it does not work.  Once a stone wore only by royalty and valued as highly as ruby, sapphire and emerald, today amethyst is available in qualities to match most budgets.

The main imitations of Amethyst are synthetic amethyst, CZ and glass. CZ’s and glass are easily distinguished from natural amethyst, however it is not so easy to separate natural amethysts from synthetic specimens which often have no tell tale inclusions. 

With amethyst its very important to have a good gemstone dealer who you can trust to tell you whether they are selling you real or synthetic stones.  On the market synthetic quartz is often termed hydro or hydrothermal quartz because that is the method used to grow the synthetic crystals.  It is also important to look out for the scissor cut in any gemstones as this is one of the cheapest faceting styles and is often used on synthetic stones.

Lucy Ryalls

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