Amethyst, the birthstone for February, is a form of quartz. Ancient cultures considered amethyst to be a antidote for drunkenness. The name comes from the Greek “amethystos” for not drunken. Greek legend tells the story of a maiden Amethystos who was pursued by a drunken god, Dionysus. Amethystos prayed to the goddess Artemis to remain chaste. The goddess granted her prayer, transforming her into a white stone. Filled with remorse Dionysus cried tears of wine over the stone turning it purple.
Color saturation is prised in most gems. Deep purple amethyst brings higher prices than light pink/lavender amethyst, known as Rose de France.
Look closely at the illustration above. Does the green gem pop out? It is a green amethyst known as prasiolite. Prasiolite was one of the first gems I bought for a White Orchid Studio design.
Because amethyst is a hard gem (Mohs Hardness: 7, only a little softer than rubies, sapphires, and diamonds), it wears well with little scratching, takes on a clean cut, and refracts light beautifully. Amethyst sparkles, especially the green variant prasiolite. See White Orchid Studio's Icy Teal Sky pictured below.
Until large deposits of amethyst were discovered in Brazil in the 1800's, amethyst was as expensive as ruby and emerald. In addition to Brazil, we now know amethyst deposits exist around the world including Uruguay, Bolivia and Argentina, Zambia, Namibia and other African countries. Very dark amethyst, mostly in small sizes, is also mined in Australia.
White Orchid Studio’s necklace “Ice Cream and Blueberries” uses a wonderfully faceted, deep purple amethyst to bring out the red, blue, and purple fire in a luscious strand of Welo opals. It definitely looks good enough to eat!