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Carat Weight, Color, Clarity, and Cut: A Guide to Buying Amethyst Jewelry

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Carat Weight, Color, Clarity, and Cut: A Guide to Buying Amethyst Jewelry

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The amethyst is a member of the quartz family. Amethysts are known for their beautiful, purple colors which range from deep purples to light violets or even reddish-purple shades. The color comes from a concentration of iron minerals within the gem. The more iron in the amethyst, the deeper the purple shade will be. It’s also common for amethysts to be treated with heat in order to deepen their color.

Amethysts: A Gem Formed All Around the World

Amethysts form in many different places including Australia, the United States, Canada, India, Mexico, and parts of Africa. Since they can be mined from so many different locations, they are often more affordable than other gemstones.

Choosing an Amethyst: Understanding the Four Cs

Much like diamonds and certain other gems, amethysts are graded based on “The Four Cs,” which include color, cut, clarity, and carat weight.

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Color: Amethysts are divided into three color categories:

  • -- Siberian amethysts: the darkest of purple shades.
  • -- Uruguayan amethysts: middle-grade stones.
  • -- Bahrain amethysts: the lightest of the bunch.

The most valuable amethysts are deep purple and display their color evenly. However, amethysts of all colors and variations are beautiful, and there is no reason to seek one with a perfect color. Most amethysts on the market today have been treated with heat to achieve a darker color and, while this somewhat lowers the value of the stone, it also makes it more affordable for those on a budget. Another perk: heat treated amethysts don’t lose their color over time the way natural stones sometimes do.

Clarity: All natural gemstones have slight imperfections (also called inclusions) that make them unique. The amount and intensity of these imperfections help determine the stone’s value.

The clarity of an amethyst is graded on the following scale:

  • -- Included (I): This is the most affordable clarity level because the imperfections are quite obvious to the untrained eye.
  • -- Slightly Included (SI): This clarity level has some imperfections, but they are less obvious.
  • -- Very Slightly Included (VS): At this clarity level, the stone will appear beautiful to the untrained eye, but an expert will be able to see inclusions upon close inspection.
  • -- Insignificant Inclusions (VVS2): This clarity level represents very-minor inclusions that can usually only be seen from a side view.
  • -- Very Very Slightly Included (VVS1): These gems will appear perfect to the naked eye, but inclusions can be seen using a microscope.
  • -- Perfection (IF): This clarity level is just as it sounds. The stone will look perfect even at 10x magnification.

As with color, an amethyst doesn’t have to have a perfect clarity rating in order to be beautiful. To save a lot of money, choose a stone from the center range of the scale.

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Carat Weight: As the carat weight goes up, so does the price of the amethyst. However, the difference is slight compared to some other gemstones. For example, a diamond of a larger carat weight will be much more expensive simply because diamonds are so rare. Amethysts are more common, and one can generally get a larger stone without spending much more money.

Cut: The cut of the amethyst is one of the most important factors for determining its beauty. Amethysts can be cut in a wide variety of ways, offering plenty of options to choose from. The cut is the one area that shouldn’t be compromised in the attempt to find an amethyst at a lower price. Even a stone with a low clarity or color rating, will still be gorgeous and sparkly when cut correctly.

Where to Purchase Amethysts

Although it’s possibly to buy amethysts from a wide variety of online merchants, it’s always better to make purchases from a professional jeweler with a good reputation. A jeweler that has been around for awhile will have more experience working with amethysts and be better able to answer any questions. Amethysts are not the most expensive of jewels, but that doesn’t necessitate wasting hard-earned cash on an inferior or poorly cut gem.

Before purchasing an amethyst, always:

  • -- Check the company’s rating with the Better Business Bureau.
  • -- Look for negative reviews online.
  • -- Talk to the jeweler and ask plenty of questions.
  • -- Make sure the jeweler offers a certificate of authenticity with information about the amethyst.

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Amethysts and Engagement Rings

The Amethyst is a luxurious gemstone that makes a wonderful choice for engagement rings and other fine jewelry settings. Since they are such an affordable gem, one can usually get an amethyst of a greater carat weight without drastically increasing the cost of the ring. This makes the amethyst an excellent choice for a center stone. By getting an amethyst of a larger carat weight and surrounding it with small diamonds or another accenting jewel, you will end up with a gorgeous ring that won’t break the bank.

Are you ready to begin shopping for amethyst rings and other fine jewelry? Juno Jewelry has over 30 years of experience working with colored gemstones, and we are confident that we can answer any questions you might have. Please contact us today! We look forward to hearing from you!

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