I’m sure over the past twenty years or so writing this column I’ve touched on the subject of the semi-precious gemstone, the purple-luscious…Amethyst.
And as promised as my New Year’s resolution, I will strive to educate the naïve, ignorant and even the folks who are mildly interested in what I have to say.
Besides being the birthstone for the month of February it has a long history of being an important gemstone. Its name is believed to be derived from the Greek word amethustos, which can be translated as “not drunken.” Because of its wine-like color the ancient Greeks also associated amethyst with the festive party animal god, Bacchus (the god of wine). What’s funny about that is it was said if you wore the gemstone it would keep you sober, clearheaded, and hopefully not drunken while drinking heavily. (I doubt that myth is a guaranteed way to avoid getting arrested by “Officer Friendly,” although I have yet to put it to the test.)
The stats on the gemstone are that it is in the quartz family and is mainly found in Brazil, Africa, India and even right here in the good old U.S. of A. The color of amethyst ranges from the palest lilac to the richest dark purple. The hardness of the gem is a seven on the Mohs scale (a diamond is a ten) and toughness is only good, it will scratch and wear if worn 24-7. Most rough material (crystals) is slowly heat treated from the mine to improve color. High heat will damage the gem, so trusting your amethyst to a moronic amateur “jeweler” to size your ring will surely destroy it. (My bad, I promised to be nicer this year. Oh, but how they test me!)
I personally prefer the rich and darker variety of the gem and my Brazilian connection “Sergio” has not disappointed me with my personal collection of this gemstone. I have made several pieces of the intoxicating gem these past months and I expect demand to increase now that people are spending money again. (My proof the economy is improving was that the cash I collected last week reeked of moth balls. Folks must be breaking out the box spring money stash!)
I mentioned the gemstone aquamarine in thelast issue. Mixing the two colors in a ring is a wonderful combination; the pastel colors make a classy statement.
Other facts about the gem are it was revered for centuries in both religious and royal circles, many fine examples in stately rings can be seen in the Vatican museum in Rome and centuries ago was even considered as valuable or expensive as rubies and sapphires. It was said the amethyst could improve dreams and protect one against thieves.
The good news is the gem is affordable to the average Jane or Joe, and is available in many shapes and sizes. Once again, the deeper the color and the larger the stone the more expensive it can get per carat.
My grandmother Josephine, who was born in February, had a huge collection of amethyst jewelry, which now belongs to my Mom. There are some impressive pieces, huge rings and pendants that today are worth a pretty penny.
The wearing of the gem is not just for those born in the month of February, lots of women love the color purple and it is a very popular item in the shop year-round. And wearing one as a ring, earrings or a pendant can make any lady feel special.
F.Y.I. This is factual information to the gentleman who made inquiries last week to my sales staff…who was told from someone on the island the falsehood that I was no longer amongst the living, not coming down for breakfast, threw snake eyes or pushing daisies. In a simple word…Dead. I regret to inform him that I am in fact very much alive and thankfully healthy. I hopefully intend to hang around a bit longer to enjoy my future retirement and continue serving my loyal customers and begin returning the favor to those who insist in causing me discomfort, for many years to come, even in my “golden years.”
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of the Harbor Goldsmith, Marco Island’s “go to jeweler” for almost 25 years. He welcomes your questions about “all that glitters.” Call 239-394-9275 or visit www.harborgoldsmith.com for more information.
Richard Alan is a designer/goldsmith and owner of The Harbor Goldsmith at Island Plaza and welcomes your questions about all that glitters. Contact him at 239-394-9275 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit his informative website at www.harborgoldsmith.com.