Amethyst occurs in colours ranging from the palest lavender to the deepest red-purple. Its beauty makes it suitable for any form of jewelry. A variety of quartz, it has a hardness of 7, which also makes it ideal for rings and bracelets.
This lovely gem has been used by man for adornment since ancient times. Because of the way it forms, large stones are readily available, making it a favorite of jewelry makers and carvers through the ages.
In Victorian England amethyst was rare and expensive. Garnet and glass doublets were frequently made to imitate amethysts. Queen Charlotte (1744-1818) had an extremely expensive amethyst necklace, which lost considerable value after the discovery of Russian amethyst (1799) depressed the market.
Brazilian amethyst commonly is found as perfect crystals lining gas cavities in lava flows These geodes may reach sizes of 4-5 feet in diameter. Such geodes are commonly found for sale at rock and gem shows along with smaller geodes, which are split and displayed on stands.
Amethyst may be heat treated to lighten dark stones, or to change the color completely or partially to yellow, to produce citrine or bicolored ametrine.
Many myths are associated with amethyst. The name comes from the Greed 'amethustos' which means 'not drunken'. It was used as a talisman to prevent drunkenness, and thus was a popular material for wine glasses. Leonardo Da Vinci wrote that amethyst was able to dissipate evil thoughts and quicken the intelligence.
This lovely Art Nouveau lavalier is set with a large central amethyst and has an amethyst dropper.