Amethyst in large sizes is not priced significantly more per carat than smaller sizes, making it a good choice for bold jewellery designs. Unlike some coloured gems, small sizes can be strongly coloured, making it easier to match sets of differently sized gems.
Russia was the major source of amethyst until the 19th century, when large deposits were found in Brazil. Once as rare as ruby or emerald, amethyst was suddenly in abundance. Today, the most important sources of amethyst are in Africa and South America although Brazil is still a major supplier.
The Anahí mine in Bolivia is another prominent source for amethyst and is also famous in gem circles as the source of the unusual ametrine crystals. In Africa, Zambia’s Kariba mine is one of the largest amethyst producers in the world. Amethyst mined there tends to be of superb quality with richly saturated colours. Amethyst is also found in the United States, just 46 miles (74 km) outside Phoenix, Arizona.
Care and storage
Amethyst is a 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness. This means that it is appropriate for daily use in rings and other jewellery, but over time it may show wear and require repolishing. Amethyst jewellery can be cleaned with an ultrasonic cleaner, but steam cleaning is not recommended. A soft brush with mild soap is the safest option.
Because this February birthstone is more susceptible to damage than harder gems such as rubies, sapphires, and diamonds, you risk scratching your amethyst jewellery if you place it next to these harder stones.
Heat treatment is the most common technique used remove unwanted brown inclusions and to deepen the purple colour, but it can also lighten the colour of very dark amethyst and make it more attractive. Heat treating it can also turn it into green amethyst. Some amethyst turns yellow with heat; as natural citrine is rare, so most of these gemstones are heat treated amethyst.