February’s Birthstone: Amethyst

Amethyst Jewelry in Arizona

Arizona mined amethyst

Amethyst jewelry lovers rejoice because Arizona is lucky enough to be home to the only commercially run amethyst mine still in existence in the United States. The mine itself, Four Peaks Amethyst mine, is located in the Matzanal Mountains. The amethysts extracted and used for jewelry from this mine are considered very rare based on their desirable deep purple color. Amethysts from Arizona are called “Siberian Red Amethysts” due to the flash of red that can be seen when viewed under natural light. It is so rare because the only other place where this quality of amethyst can be found is in the Ural Mountains of Russia2. More common forms of amethysts are found in many other places of the world such as Brazil, Uruguay, and Bolivia1.

Brief Amethyst Background

The name amethyst comes from the Ancient Greek “amethystos”, which means "not intoxicated" and it was believed that this stone protected its owner from drunkenness. Not originally used for jewelry, amethyst drinking goblets were often made for this protective purpose.

What to Look For When Choosing Amethyst JewelryAmethyst jewelry necklace

The cut of the stone is usually considered to be higher quality when the stone is cut a way that makes the tone of the finished gem homogeneous, or uniform in color. The exception to this is the “Deep Siberian” amethyst which is considered to be the most desirable for jewelry or as a stand alone gemstone. This amethyst is a very deep purple tone with flashes of red or blue. The similarity of the Arizona “Siberian Red Amethyst” to the “Deep Siberian” is what makes jewelry made from this amethyst so desirable.

Color of an Amethyst: Light violet or lilac to deep purple
Determining Quality: Amethysts follow the 4C’s: color, cut, clarity and carat weight
Birthstone Month: February
Associated with: Royalty (due to the variation with a deep purple hue)
Wedding Anniversary Year: Gemstone of choice for 6th year wedding anniversary

1. "amethyst". Encyclopædia Britannica. Encyclopædia Britannica Online.
    Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2014. Web. 22 Jan. 2014
    <http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/20466/amethyst>.
2. “About the Mine". Four Peaks Mining. Retrieved January 22nd, 2014, from
    <http://www.fourpeaksmining.com/about-the-mine.html>