Curious About Amethyst Jewelry?


The color most commonly associated with the amethyst is a striking shade of royal purple. Lighter shades are gorgeous when looking at virtually translucent specimens of the gems. Although rare, deepest purple coloration is a true showstopper. Yet when heating an amethyst to about 250 degrees Fahrenheit, its color changes to take on yellow hues. If the heat is applied irregularly, it is not uncommon to also see smudges of brown and purple in the gem. It is possible for the almost transparent varieties to lose all color when heated to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Jewelry aficionados should note that not all amethysts are actually mined gems. Modern science has made it possible to replicate synthetically the desirable properties of the amethyst to such an extent that it is difficult even for experts to tell apart the real stones from the synthetic ones. If there is a question about authenticity, it is frequently necessary to destroy a small portion of the stone for testing.
Today, most authentic amethysts come from mines in Brazil, Uruguay, India and the United States. Due to the current abundance of the gemstone, it has lost much of the value that it enjoyed in the middle ages and beyond. Case in point is British Queen Charlotte’s amethyst bracelet, which decreased in value from 2,000 pounds sterling in the 18th century to only about 100 pounds sterling a short 200 years later. The one exception is the find of a Deep Russian amethyst, which is the highest grade of the gemstone currently known. Collectors are eager to dig deep into their pocket books to own this type of stone.
Folklore attributes a number of miraculous properties to these gems. In the 15th century, old wives’ tales suggested that the wearer of an amethyst amulet would gain power over evil thoughts. The stone was also said to heighten the intelligence of its wearer and give a businessperson an edge in all dealings. Hunters were thought to be more successful in their endeavors while wearing an amethyst on their persons. In the time of the Black Death, wearers of amethysts believed that the gem protected them from infection. 
Amethysts were supposed to sober up a person either from wine intoxication or from over-emotional involvement in love affairs. The early Catholic Church looked to the amethyst as a chastity aid for priests and high-ranking clergy, which explains why this gem was so frequently found in the jewelry worn by cardinals and bishops.
In the past, it was common to sculpture or engrave an amethyst amulet. Still surviving are engraved amethyst amulets featuring Roman Emperor Caracalla, who reigned from 198 to 217. The gems would also adorn drinking cups into which one might pour wine. Nowadays, amethysts are commonly mounted with diamond braids. Wearers are urged to keep the gems out of the way of direct heat and sunlight to avoid any color changes.
Peter Suchy Jewelers is located in Stamford Connecticut and we hope you’ll stop by our showroom at 1137 High Ridge Road. We also invite you to browse our many jewelry offerings in our eBay store.
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