Amethysts remain among the most popular of all colored gemstones, and with the trend towards non-diamond engagement rings growing, it’s a stone that many couples consider. However, while there’s no doubt that amethysts look stunning and have the brilliance and hues to take your ring to the next level, an important consideration is whether it suits daily wear. Let’s take a look at what amethyst is and the pros and cons of this stone for engagement rings.
- What Is Amethyst?
- Pros and Cons of Amethyst Engagement Rings
- Amethyst Engagement Ring Designs
- Choosing the Best Amethyst
- Amethyst Treatments and Enhancements
- Amethyst vs. Apatite
- Cleaning and Caring for Amethyst Rings
- Amethyst Engagement Ring Meaning
- Amethyst in History
- Myths About Amethyst
- Where to Buy Amethyst Rings
The Bottom Line:
Amethysts are not highly durable, but they make for beautiful engagement rings. If you’re willing to provide proper care and maintenance for your ring and are prepared to replace the stone down the track if need be, an amethyst engagement ring will work for you. If you’re looking for a ring with minimal maintenance, we recommend sticking with the Big Three – diamond, ruby or sapphire.
What Is Amethyst?
Amethyst is a semi-precious gemstone and a purple variety of quartz, which is the third most common mineral on Earth next to ice and feldspar. Quartz is a colorless mineral composed of silicon dioxide and is typically colored by certain impurities. Amethyst is a colorless quartz that is made purple by traces of iron.
Did you know quartz has the greatest number of gemstone varieties? In fact, amethyst is a cousin of citrine, chalcedony, rose quartz, as well as tiger’s-eye quartz and cat’s-eye quartz. In a typical amethyst geode, you’ll often see the first layers as translucent gray and white quartz, followed by purple amethyst crystals.
There are many shades of amethyst, including lavender, light lilac, purple and dark violet. Commonly, it has a cool and bluish-purple hue, but it can also be found in a reddish purple or red-violet color referred to as raspberry. Sometimes, it also shows zones of darker and lighter colors and can have a transparent to opaque appearance and a glass-like luster.
There’s also an ametrine gemstone, which is a combination of amethyst and citrine, featuring the contrasting purple and yellow or orange hues. Just like any quartz, amethyst can be found in silica-rich regions in Brazil, Siberia, Zambia, Spain, Scotland, Swiss Alps, France, Russia, Madagascar and Sri Lanka
Pros and Cons of Amethyst Engagement Rings
As mentioned above, there’s no denying the beauty of an amethyst. But when buying an engagement ring, it’s important to think beyond the beauty of the stone and to consider factors such as durability and toughness. If you want an amethyst engagement ring, here are some of its pros and cons:
- Affordable – The gemstone looks as classy and elegant as other colored gemstones but is relatively inexpensive. In fact, they’re a fraction of the cost of blue sapphires.
- Stunning Hue – It has a beauty of its own and the deep purple color stands out, comparable to any other vivid gemstone. You also have lots of shade options from pale lilac to raspberry hues.
- Metal Matches – Amethyst will look good in any metal—yellow gold enhances its deep purple color while white gold showcases its bluish undertones.
- Non-Traditional Ring – Amethyst is a nontraditional gemstone for an engagement ring, making it perfect for someone who has a unique style.
- Birthstone – Amethyst is February’s birthstone, making it more meaningful for ones who were born in the month.
- Durability – While amethysts are durable, they’re nowhere near as durable as diamonds and other gemstones like rubies and sapphires. They rank 7 on the Mohs scale of hardness, which is acceptable for daily wear but still prone to damage. While it’s much harder than pearl or opal engagement rings, if you’re looking for something that can take a lot of knocks and still remain undamaged, amethyst may not be it.
- Color Options – If you want different colors, amethyst isn’t for you. It only comes in shades of purple. You’ll hear of green amethyst, but that’s just a marketing term given to green quartz.
- Wear and Tear – Because of the lower durability, amethyst will eventually look dull over time, and may require re-polishing to look good as new. Some lower quality amethyst stones tend to fade when left in direct sunlight.
Does the above discussion mean you can’t have an amethyst stone for your engagement ring? Not at all! There are many brides who’ve chosen amethyst and are happy with their decision. It may require a little extra maintenance, but it still can be done. Here’s what some internet brides say about their amethyst rings:
Stella: My mom always wore an amethyst ring, and it looks stunning! But it’s definitely scratched, so she only wears it on special occasions.
Hediye: I have an amethyst engagement ring, and I’ve worn it for several years now. I take it off when I do stuff like cooking, gardening or going to the gym. We didn’t know about the softness of amethyst when we bought it, but I don’t regret it. I love purple and is there any other prettier purple stone? I don’t think so!
Sophie: I’ve got an amethyst three-stone ring. Yes, it’s got a little scratched, but I’m so careless so I think any stone I wore would get scratched! But because amethyst isn’t expensive, I can have it replaced without breaking the bank.
Amethyst Engagement Ring Designs
If you’re looking for an engagement ring that’s nontraditional, here are some of the prettiest amethyst rings you’ll surely love.
- Minimalist Amethyst Pave Ring
Pear-Shaped Amethyst Ring by Willwork. Check Price Here.
A solitaire ring is ideal for a minimalist bride or for a low-key engagement ring. This ring features an oval amethyst, faceted to show brilliance. The pave set band adds to the beauty of the stone by contrasting the hues and sparkle.
- Amethyst and Diamond Ring
Marquise and Pear Diamond Ring by Ascheron Jewelry. Check Price Here.
Modern and unique, this engagement ring features pear-shaped diamond and marquise-cut amethyst, with brilliant cut diamonds set into the band. The bezel setting perfectly protects the amethyst, and when set side by side with the diamond, the color of the amethyst is emphasized. There’s also the symbolism of two coming together to create a perfect whole – ideal symbolism for a couple.
- Amethyst and Diamond Collar Ring
Modern Engagement Ring by Gorman Designs. Check Price Here.
If you’re looking for a unique engagement ring but one that still feels classic, this one is perfect for you. We love its deep purple amethyst stone and sparkling diamonds, giving a royal look fit for a queen. The wide diamond-encrusted ring setting is the highlight of this ring, but the amethyst adds that touch of color to top it off.
- Amethyst Infinity Ring
Amethyst Engagement Ring by Gold and Silver Co. Check Price Here.
Featuring African amethyst and white sapphires, this ring features an elaborate band with and eternity design. Not only does this add symbolism to the ring, but it also balances the amethyst with the band – both work together perfectly to balance out color and sparkle.
- Amethyst and Diamond Floral Ring
Amethyst Diamond Engagement Ring by Gorman Designs. Check Price Here.
Romantic and feminine, this amethyst ring features a chic floral design and brilliant diamonds. The long hard lines of the setting, together with the curves and softness of the floral elements offers perfect contrast, giving a design that’s both feminine and tough, sentimental and no-nonsense at the same time.
- Royal Amethyst Ring
Amethyst Engagement Ring by Shining Fine Jewelry. Check Price Here.
Side stones always add an extra touch to a ring design. While most amethyst rings feature diamond accent stones, this design showcases side amethysts in its double shank band. The result is a colorful yet chic ring that brings out the beautiful hue of the gemstone.
- Amethyst with Meteorite Inlay
Amethyst in Rose Gold with Wavy Band from Jewelry by Johan. Check Price Here.
Whimsical and elegant, this amethyst ring will infuse a little bit of magic into your lives. It features a deep purple amethyst gemstone set on a Gibeon meteorite band with a wavy gold design. It’s ideal if you want something out of the ordinary, in this case, something literally out of this world.
- Three Stone Amethyst Ring
Amethyst Ring by Art Masters. Check Price Here.
Amethysts suit all types of engagement ring settings, including three stone rings. Not only is this a meaningful design but note the floral elements on the setting that sets this design apart making it fit for a queen.
- Nature-Inspired Amethyst Ring
Floral Engagement Ring by Gorman Designs. Check Price Here.
This six-pronged solitaire engagement ring is taken to the next level by the stunning design of the band. featuring leaf accents and diamonds, the band offers detail and texture that make it stand out.
Choosing the Best Amethyst
When it comes to the value of the gemstone, everything is based on its quality and color regardless of the country of origin. If you like to incorporate amethyst on your engagement ring, here’s what to look for:
Amethyst’s color can range from extremely pale to rich or very dark purple. The finest gemstone generally has a strong reddish-purple color without visible color zoning or zones that feature varying lightness and darkness of purple. To check if there’s any color zoning, place the stone table-down against a white background and look carefully, though it can be quite challenging if the stone is already attached to a ring.
It’s said that Siberian mines produce the world’s finest amethyst with a rich purple color, with red and blue flashes that add depth to the gem. Nowadays, Siberian quality can also refer to amethysts with the best color even they weren’t mined from Siberia. Unfortunately, bronze and brownish tints can lower the value of amethyst. Make sure that the gemstone hasn’t been color-enhanced, so you don’t overpay. Your retailer should be able to tell you if the stone has had any treatments done.
A good quality amethyst is transparent when held up to the light, without inclusions or any material trapped inside it, whether it’s a gas bubble, liquid, or another crystal. Also, it shouldn’t have nicks, scratches, or fractures. In some instances, amethysts that have an attractive raspberry color with inclusions are regarded acceptable in jewelry, though they’re often polished into cabochons than faceted.
Amethysts will never sparkle like diamonds, and they’re not supposed to, but they can show their unique beauty with the right cut. In engagement rings, you can see amethyst in various cuts such as marquise, pear, oval, round, triangle, cushion and emerald. When cut expertly, the color and sparkle of an amethyst will come through.
Amethyst is often cut symmetrically—though a freeform shape or a designer cut that doesn’t follow standard patterns also look unique. On the other hand, mid-quality rough amethyst is rarely faceted since the cost of cutting will be more expensive than the final value of the gemstone. These are the raw amethyst stones you commonly see in rings.
One of the best things about amethysts is that the price per carat of amethyst doesn’t rise dramatically with larger sized stones, making them ideal for cocktail rings or large engagement rings. These stones come in all sizes, and it’s possible to find large stones of several carats at reasonable prices.
- Setting and Metal
Amethyst is durable enough for most settings; however, a bezel or halo setting will add an extra layer of protection to the stone that a solitaire setting will not. In terms of metal, this can affect the shade of the stone. White gold brings out the bluish undertones of the gem, while yellow gold can enhance the richness of deep purple shade. Rose gold is also an excellent option for amethyst, giving an vintage-chic to the design.
Amethyst Treatments and Enhancements
Heat treatment can lighten amethysts and even turn them into a different color. When heated around 400-500º C, the crystal can turn brown, red-orange, blue, or even green. However, only stones that retain the purple color are regarded as amethysts, and those that turn into different colors after the treatment become a different variety of quartz.
For instance, amethysts that turn into a yellow color become a citrine, and cease being considered as amethyst. There’s also a fracture-filling treatment to improve the gem’s clarity, as well as dyeing to improve its purple color. However, these processes are quite rare since quartz in general is widely abundant and inexpensive so treating amethysts is not common. Most stones you’ll find on the market are untreated, but always check with the retailer.
Amethyst vs. Apatite
Apatite often resembles the crystals of amethysts and other gemstones—which is why its name comes from the Greek word apate which means deceit. Though it resembles amethyst, you’ll rarely see apatite in jewelry since its crystals are too soft and brittle to be faceted. However, higher quality apatite gems can be mounted in rings, which need lots of care as they can easily get scratches.
Amethysts vs. Other Colored Gemstones
Amethyst is the most common purple gemstone, though the color can sometimes be found in garnets, sapphires, spinels and musgravites. Sometimes, color treated amethysts are sold as topaz. There’s also a kunzite called lithia amethyst, as well as a violet sapphire referred to as oriental amethyst. However, these terms are misleading since amethyst of quartz is entirely different from sapphire, topaz and kunzite.
Cleaning and Caring for Amethyst Rings
Amethyst isn’t as strong as a diamond, but it can last a lifetime with proper care. While they can withstand daily wear and tear, they shouldn’t be exposed to heat and bright lights, which will cause discolorations. Avoid placing amethyst rings near sunny windows and remove them before showering.
Amethyst is still softer than other gemstones like topazes, sapphires and rubies so store your amethyst ring away from harder gemstones and metals. Avoid chemicals to come into contact with your amethyst, including hairspray, lotion and perfume, as these chemicals can cause needless damage. This tip applies to all gemstones.
Amethyst rings can be safely cleaned with mild soap and water but avoid using ultrasonic cleaners. Strong detergents, alkaline solutions, hydrofluoric acid and ammonium fluoride can damage the stone, so it’s best not to wear your ring while doing household chores.
Amethyst Engagement Ring Meaning
It’s not surprising that amethyst has gained various symbolic over time, considering that the stone has been used and valued for centuries. Centuries ago, amethysts were a popular crystal for healing and protection so medieval European soldiers wore them during battles. Leonardo Da Vinci even believed that amethyst dissipates evil thoughts and quickens the intelligence.
The gemstone is sometimes associated with the purity of spirit and believed to be able to strengthen the couple’s spirituality. Some cultures even regard amethyst as a symbol of peace, bringing harmony to relationships. Pink amethyst is also said to instill feelings of calmness, relaxation, trust and tranquility, while purple amethyst is said to provide emotional support and enhance confidence and calmness.
Note that amethysts are also the stone for six-year wedding anniversaries. It’s the ideal gift to give to your other half to celebrate six years together.
Amethyst in History
Back in the time, quartz in general was believed to be ice that had been permanently frozen after long periods of time. Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder even justified the belief because the gemstone was commonly found near glaciers in the Alps—not on volcanic mountains. In some regions, amethysts became associated with rituals and magic.
Amethysts have been used for centuries. One of the oldest pieces of amethyst jewelry is an ancient Egyptian amulet dating back to around 700 BCE, which features a crystal lion’s head carving set on a gold baboon figure. In ancient Rome, amethyst cameos dating back to around the 2nd century CE were common.
Between the 10th and 19th centuries, amethysts decorated royal crowns. The Crown of Charlemagne, featured amethyst, along with other gemstones such as emeralds, sapphires and pearls. The stone symbolized the power of the Holy Roman Empire and the monarch.
Because the gemstone was rare, it was valued alongside sapphires, rubies and diamonds. Amethysts wasn’t available to the public and was seen as a stone for the upper classes and for royalty.
Myths About Amethyst
Because of its wine-like color, early Greeks associated it with Dionysus, also called as Bacchus, the god of wine, revelry and ecstasy. In Greek, its name Amethystos means not intoxicated. During the ancient Roman period, it was believed that Bacchus traveled the earth teaching people how to make wine, and some rituals were even held for his honor.
The Greek myth that explains the origins of amethysts says that Dionysus pursued a woman named Amethyste, but she refused his affections and prayed to the gods to help her remain chaste. The goddess Diana answered her prayers and transformed her into a white stone. When Dionysius saw the stone, he poured his goblet of wine over it, coloring its crystals purple.
Another interesting story featuring amethyst pertains to the famous amethyst owned by Heron-Allen, which is believed to be cursed and stained with blood. It was stolen during the Indian Mutiny in 1855 and brought to England—but it was said to bring misfortune, despair and devastation to all who touched it. Heron-Allen packed it in seven boxes and deposited it in the bank with the instruction that it shouldn’t be opened again until thirty years of his death. Eventually, his daughter donated the stone to the Natural History Museum, along with a letter of warning.
Where to Buy Amethyst Rings
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons of amethysts, let’s discuss where you can buy a high-quality amethyst ring. Because amethyst is very common, you’ll most likely be able to find amethysts rings at your local jewelers. If you prefer shopping in person, this is the best option for you. You can try on the ring, see how it looks and make an informed choice.
Shopping online has its own benefits, most notably the vast selections, exclusive designs and competitive prices. Because online stores want to compete with physical stores, they tend to offer a facilitated shopping experience.
James Allen and Blue Nile, two of the most reputable online diamond companies, offer small but excellent collections of amethyst jewelry. For a wider selection, we recommend searching on these two platforms:
Ideal if you’re after a handcrafted, artisan ring or a genuine vintage piece. There’s a wide range of amethyst engagement rings so take your time to sift through and find the right one. Communicate with the seller about any concerns you have and always check customer reviews.
Amazon offers a range of amethyst engagement rings often by the same retailers that also offer their products on Etsy. Ensure you carefully check each product and ask any questions from the seller.