One of the most loved and well-known coloured gemstones amongst crystal lovers, amethyst is the purple variety of quartz which has adorned kings and queens for eons but it also an affordable gemstone for us mere individuals. Whether purpose is your colour or not, there is something mystical and wondrous about amethyst especially when it is seen in its plethora of fascinating formations.
Throughout the history of time amethyst has been referred to as a magical and powerful stone, in folklore and mythology. In fact, amethyst derives from the Greek word “amethystos”, which means “not drunken “. The ancient Greeks even believed this stone protected its owner from drunkenness and often carved drinking vessels out of this purpose mineral to prevent intoxication.
Being a variety of quartz, amethyst has a hardness of 7. Amethyst owes its colour to the presence of iron within the crystal lattice and a process of natural irradiation. Uniquely, amethyst and citrine (yellow variety of quartz) are formed through a volcanic process that creates a geode (or vug). These crystal ‘caves’ are a spectacular sight and a truly marvellous creation of nature. Occasionally a single crystal may present both purple and yellow colour zoning, these are called ametrine and can show both dynamic separation of the two colours or a more subtle mixing within the gemstone.
A geode is a small to large cavity within a rock (typically basalt), lined with crystals pointing inward. These underground pockets are formed over hundreds of thousands of years by volcanic action; from lava and magmatic flow engulfing trees or gas bubbles created by heat convection. The cavities that are left behind are filled with mineral-rich solutions containing a high saturation of silica and through years of slow cooling the crystallisation process begins. As the silica cools quickly, in the initial stages, microcrystalline crystals are deposited around the outside layer in the form of agate. As the cooling slows down larger crystals of quartz are produced in the final layer. These types of formations are found in various locations around the world but Brazil and Uruguay are most famous for their large sizes, deep, rich colour and quantity. Often when being mined, the fragile geodes crumble – these smaller pieces have less value but are still desirable.
Bunny Bedi, owner and director of Made In Earth, has introduced raw amethyst jewellery into the spring/summer collection in a huge way!
“With the ever-increasing presence of raw crystals in current fashion trends we have answered the call by introducing a larger variety of gemstones in their natural state. Amethyst has always been our best seller and what better stone to present in a new and interesting light. Raw crystal clusters and druzy stone jewellery was the perfect addition to our vast amethyst collection. The dark, small, dense crystals sparkle and look absolutely magical.”
“At the other end of the purple spectrum we have obtained some large and extraordinary pieces of ‘spirit quartz’ from South Africa. These are a paler lavender tone and have unusual, cactus-like crystal formations on them. These are where a single clear quartz crystal has smaller amethyst crystals deposited all over the outside and are the perfect stones for me to create statement jewels.”
In fact, some amethyst can form the internal lining of geodes and can be over 10 feet tall and weigh quite a few tons! Undeniably beautiful as a cut stone and unbelievably exquisite in a raw state, a humble stone like amethyst is a gem that can be loved and appreciated by everyone and even more so special for the February babies whose birth stone is beautiful Amethyst.