Amethyst is undoubtedly one of the most in-demand and popular gemstones in the world, and it is just as valuable as other semiprecious stones.
There was a time when amethyst commanded a value similar to rubies, but then, larger quantities of the mineral were unearthed, which controlled its prices in the market.
Amethyst is now considered a prime, semiprecious stone with mass-market production, and it remains attainable for mass-market consumers. It is an excellent entry-level gemstone for collectors or people interested in it for energy healing and other spiritual purposes.
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Amethyst Color: The Story of Purples
Amethyst is a semiprecious gemstone that registers a seven on the Mohs scale of hardness. It has a hexagonal crystal system and a refractive value of 1.54 to 1.55. Amethyst is always purple and can appear either transparent or translucent.
It also has a beautiful, vitreous luster. Amethyst belongs to the quartz family and shares its place in the world of gemstones and famous cousins like citrine and rose quartz. The color of amethyst usually emerges because of impurities or imperfections in its crystalline structure that involves iron compounds.
Through irradiation or superheating, amethyst can turn green, and it can eventually be treated to become citrine. When amethyst is artificially or synthetically turned green, the outcome of the treatment is renamed Prasiolite. Prasiolite is still considered a form of amethyst, albeit it is green amethyst now. The color that is in the highest demand is purple, not green.
The source of the amethyst usually influences its many qualities; especially it is color.
For example, amethysts that are mined in Uruguay tend to have a deeper blue and purple combination. The ones that come from Russia have a reddish and blue combination and tint. This variety is aptly called Siberian amethyst, and it is sought after by collectors and gemstone enthusiasts yearly.
African amethyst also trumps amethyst mined in South America. Generally speaking, jewelers and jewelry shops market amethyst using names that command higher prices.
For example, you may find plenty of African amethysts on the Web, but you cannot be sure of the origin of the amethyst – are they really from the African continent, or were they taken somewhere else? It’s hard to tell by looking at the amethyst because you cannot tell the differences in the gradient without a side by side comparison.
There can also be inconsistencies in the color of amethyst depending on how the gemstone was cut, so we have to consider things when gauging the value of amethyst.
Usually, certain visual imperfections are considered a reduction in the value of a specimen, but that still depends on the overall quality of the piece and its history.
As you may know, jewelry is valued not just by the amount of mineral there is, but also the history of the jewelry. The more historical pieces are going to fetch higher prices.
On the bright side, it is now fairly common to unearth large amethyst pieces with perfect crystallization patterns. Due to the higher supply of this quartz variant these days, it is possible to get genuinely flawless pieces of amethyst for lower prices. Like we said before, if you want an entry-level semiprecious stone, amethyst is the way.
What amethysts command the highest prices?
If you want amethyst that genuinely stands out from the crowd, you are talking about Natural AAAA amethysts.
These are cream of the crop and constitute a minuscule 10% of the world’s annual harvest of the mineral. Natural AAAA amethysts have a middle of the line dark purple color, perfect hues, and these amethysts are also eye-clean.
You don’t need a magnifier to see that these specimens of amethyst are prestigious and clean of crystalline imperfections, which is why they command the highest price.
The second most valuable type of amethyst is Natural AAA. These comprise the top twenty to thirty percent of all global production of amethyst from different regions. These also produce a beautiful midrange purple color that goes deep into the core of the crystals. Natural AAA is often used by small “mom and pops” jewelry stores and even larger brands in department stores.
Where Are Amethysts Found?
Based on annual production, Brazil is still the leading amethyst producer in the world to date. Large deposits of this mineral have also been found in Ontario, Canada, the United States, and African regions such as South Africa, Zambia, and Namibia. There’s also Madagascar, Argentina, and Mexico.
Like we said before, African amethysts are well-known the world around because of their deep purple color.
There is also a hybrid form of crystal called the amethyst quartz, which emerges when amethyst combines physically with either a transparent quartz specimen or a milky quartz one. The result is a new sample with a purple stone topside and a milky or clear crystal underneath.
Parsiolite or green amethyst is often produced in Brazil, and superheating amethyst there often produces green crystals efficiently. Then there is Siberian amethyst, which is also superheated to createcreate a green color instead of purple.
How much are Amethysts worth?
Which color is the most valuable?
The most valuable color is the middle of the road deep purple, which is the color of Natural AAAA and Natural AAA. It should be noted that amethysts can appear almost pink in some cases, so an entire range of pinks and purples make up the color family of amethyst.
The deeper the color, the more valuable the gemstone becomes. Due to the relative abundance of amethyst in recent years, its price has dropped, but it can still command formidable prices depending on the quality.
If the amethyst is one to ten carats, its value is on average $5-$50 per carat, while stones weighing ten carats or more can fetch $10-$80 per carat. There will be exceptions to this average pricing depending on the size of the rock and its history.
Further reading: What is the most expensive birthstone?
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