Amethyst has been the most-prized quartz variety for centuries, once available only to royalty and worth at times as much as diamond. Known to the ancients as the ‘Gem of Fire’, its striking vivacity continues to fire the imagination today, described by the GIA (Gemological Institute of America) as one of the world’s most popular coloured gems.
Amethyst – the stone of love and sobriety
Amethyst is not only the February birthstone but also the stone of Saint Valentine who is thought to have worn an amethyst ring on his finger, engraved with the image of Cupid. In the same vein, it is traditionally associated with faithful love, popularly referred to as the ‘couple’s stone’, and used in engagement or eternity rings to symbolise fidelity. (Perhaps something worth considering when shopping around for that special piece.)
Head over heart
Yet the amethyst is also a very balanced stone, connected with level-headedness. In the Middle Ages negotiators, diplomats and men on business wore amethysts to increase their intelligence and capacity for shrewdness; Egyptian soldiers carried the precious gem as a talisman to ward off fear in the face of danger; while the ancients drank from amethyst studded goblets to prevent against intoxication and over-indulgence. Indeed, the name amethyst derives from the Greek word ‘ametusthos’, meaning ‘not intoxicated’.
A splash of colour
The stone’s enduring popularity is undoubtedly connected to its striking colour, which, according to legend, derives from the spilt purple juice of the wine god, Bacchus’s, cup. In terms of grading, the finest variety is a strong reddish purple with no visible colour zoning, though factors including cut and clarity also come into play. Today the stone remains very much in vogue; a close match with Pantone’s Colour of the Year 2014: Radiant Orchid. Amethysts have been known to fade and should be kept away from prolonged exposure to sunlight.
Precious stone insurance
At Assetsure we are able to offer our customers Precious Stones Insurance which covers everything from Diamonds and Rubies to Amethyst. If you are a collector of semi-precious stones or gemstones, rocks, minerals or even fossils, we may also be able to assist you by insuring your entire collection.