by Brooke Bartlett
Thought by many ancient cultures to ward off drunkenness, bring good fortune in battle and protect all who wear it from being seduced, amethyst has spawned countless tales of its mystical powers and properties. This February birthstone gem has been worn by royalty, members of the clergy and commoners throughout history. Amethyst has an array of dazzling colors, making it suitable for any gemstone jewelry setting. Amethyst jewelry makes a stunning addition to your collection, whether you choose a silver, gold or platinum setting for your amethyst earrings, rings, necklaces, bracelets or pins.
Appearance: Best known for their brilliant purple shades, amethyst gems can also be smoky grey, yellow or nearly colorless. While amethyst gemstones must be some shade of purple to be considered an amethyst, this remarkable February birthstone actually changes color when exposed to high temperatures. Amethyst gemstones can be cut into a variety of shapes to showcase their brilliance, and both large and small stones are perfect for all types of amethyst jewelry, including amethyst rings, pendants and brooches.
Origin: As a member of the quartz family, amethyst forms when water mixes with other minerals. Amethyst is rich in silica, and it is unique among quartzes because of its unusual crystal structure. The striation in the stone produces varying hues within the same rock, which is easily visible in large specimens. These special traits can be showcased in jewelry set with big stones. Choose gemstone jewelry with amethyst stones that appeal to you. Amethyst rings and amethyst earrings showcasing this versatile stone are especially beautiful.
Availability: Amethyst is found all over the world, although the largest mines are in Brazil, Uruguay and Madagascar. Additional mines are found in North America, Europe and Russia, and each mine produces its own signature color. Because this gemstone is so common, it is easy to find beautiful, affordable stones in many jewelry designs.
Selection tips: Brilliant cuts are the most common because they show off the gorgeous colors. Cabochon cuts are great for unique jewelry. Amethyst stones can be heat-treated to bring out the deep purples many consumers desire, so choose retailers that are clear about which gems have been treated. Above all, choose settings, hues and stones that suit your personal taste and style.