Amethyst is purple quartz. Deep strong purple amethyst is the most valuable. Amethyst can be one of the most rewarding gemstones for the price since large, vivid colored stones are very available in fine and medium range jewelry. It is not uncommon to find very large (over 10ct.), fine amethyst pieces, so it is worth a look.
Amethyst is common at every level of quality, from rough crystals to beads and cabochons in casual jewelry, to very fine gemstones that command thousands of dollars in fine jewelry. It is all amethyst, so when shopping it is important to understand the chararcteristics that define the different classes of quality.
The Most Valuable Amethyst:
The most valuable amethyst is a deep intense color of purple, has perfect clarity, a perfect cut, and is large in size (over 10 carats).
7 Things You Should Know Before Buying an Amethyst
This is an example of an excellent amethyst. The color is beautiful and vivid, it is well cut and very clear. If you find this amethyst, buy it.
Here is a ring containing a nice large emerald cut amethyst with rare red flashes. This is a very fine and valuable peice of jewelry because of the beauty and rarity of the color, the excellence of the cut, good clarity and the large size of the stone.
This is a nice amethyst. Most of its value is in its color. The color is deep, vivid and dynamic. The clarity could be better.
Here is an amethyst with pronounced color bands. Pronounced color bands do not affect value necessarily. But many custom jewelers and jewelry collectors value peices like this because they are unusual.
This is another excellent amethyst. It is a lovely light color, the cut is very good, and it has good clarity.
This is a very low quality amethyst. It has many inclusions (poor clarity) and a weak color. For this reason, it was not faceted, but rather made into this cabochon. Its inclusions make it a “lower grade” amethyst, however they also make it more interesting in this peice of jewelry.
Here is an example of a “rose de france” amethyst, a very light purplish pink color. If you like rose de france, this is the kind of stone you want to buy: good cut, excellent color, excellent clarity.
This is an unusual, medium quality amethyst. It is unusual and therefore interesting because of the color bands and “fancy” cut. The obvious inclusions detract from its value (poor clarity), but can also be thought to add character.
This Rose de France amethyst is of lesser quality. It has a poor cut: an example of how too many facets can reduce the sparkle. The color is also weak and unattractive. It does however, have good clarity.
These amethysts are cut “en cabochon” (smooth rounded surface and flat back). The reason they have been cut this way is that their clarity is too poor to be faceted. However, these stones have a beautiful and valuable color.
These amethysts have been given a very unusual cut. Unusual cuts like these are most often found on stones in the Quartz family, like amethyst, because it is inexpensive and easy to work with.
This is an example of very common, inexpensive, not especially valuable amethyst. The stones are not cut (shaped), but crudely polished and made into beads. The stones are also very included (poor clarity) with weak color.
This is an excellent amethyst because of its perfect clarity and excellent cut (the quality of the cut is such that it reflects the maximum light). The color is deep and dark. When shopping for amethyst, this is what you look for.
Here is an example of how a creative jeweler can bring out the unique beauty of a “lower grade” stone. This amethyst has very poor clarity, but the inclusions are formed in interesting patterns, that remind one of opal. They are put next to opals in a ring to accent the effect.