Commonly Asked Questions: Amethyst

Posted on Wednesday, February 28th, 2018 in Commonly Asked Questions, Gemstones, Informational.

rough amethyst

Where in the world do amethysts come from? Most of the world’s amethyst comes from Brazil. Other notable locations for amethyst deposits include Uruguay, Arizona, and Zambia.

Where does an amethyst’s color come from? Amethyst gemstones get their purple color when iron atoms replace silicon atoms through the process of irradiation.

What is green amethyst? Like its name implies, green amethyst is just the green variety of amethyst, or more specifically quartz, which is the mineral family that amethyst belongs to. Technically, a quartz gemstone needs to display a purple color in order to be considered amethyst, so “green amethyst” gemstones are actually green quartz, and not amethyst at all. However, the term is still commonly used to describe the gemstones. Another name these gems go by is prasiolite, which is the term used by gemologists.

What determines the value of an amethyst? Like other gemstones, an amethyst’s value depends on its color, cut, clarity, and carat weight. Amethysts that feature a strong reddish-purple or deep purple color are the most valuable. These valuable gems have consistent color and won’t display color zoning, which is the uneven distribution of color within an amethyst. Amethysts that display areas with varying degrees of light and dark purple are less valuable than those which have a consistent color throughout the gem. Color zoning is most easily detected by placing the gem upside down on a white surface. The majority of amethyst gemstones are inclusion-free, meaning that clarity is rarely a problem when selecting a faceted amethyst, but as with any other gemstone, the fewer inclusions, the more valuable the gemstone. Similarly, those that are well cut and larger in size will demand the highest price tag.

How does amethyst compare in value to other quartz gemstones? Amethyst is the most highly prized variety of the quartz gemstone family.

Do amethysts symbolize anything? Amethyst is the official birthstone for the month of February. A gemstone symbolizing sincerity and sacred love, it is the designated gemstone for the sixth and seventeenth wedding anniversaries. Amethyst is believed to entice the highest, purest aspirations of humankind and is also believed to inspire courage, calm, and contemplation.

Can amethyst jewelry be worn every day? On the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, amethyst comes in at 7, which means it’s not as durable as diamonds, sapphires, rubies, or topaz, but can still be worn in everyday jewelry. Amethyst gemstones placed in rings may need to be re-polished every once in a while depending on how careful the owner is with his or her jewelry.

How should I care for my amethyst jewelry?  To clean your amethyst jewelry, use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Avoid any contact with harsh chemicals and make sure to refrain from wearing your amethyst jewelry while in sunlight for an extended period of time. Exposing the gemstone to the sun’s UV radiation will likely cause the amethyst to take on a pale color.


View Kloiber Jewelers’ amethyst jewelry collection here.