How to tell if amethyst is real?
According to Greek Mythology, Dionysus (Roman equivalent, Bacchus), the God of wine and ecstasy was obsessed with Amethyst, a young virgin girl.
He became possessive, and angry, leaving Amethyst to call out to the goddess Artemis (Diana) for help.
She was, however, jealous of her beauty and turned Amethyst into clear quartz.
In his drunkenness and grief, Dionysus spilled red wine onto the stone, turning it purple.
Different versions of the story say Artemis turned her into stone to protect her from tigers, but the outcome was still the same.
Greeks and Romans carved Amethyst wine goblets and wore Amethyst jewelry to prevent drunkenness and keep its owner clear-headed and quick-witted.
The Greeks and Romans weren’t the only ones who incorporated amethyst crystals and amethyst jewelry in their daily lives.
Humans have been using amethyst as early as 2000 BC. Leonardo da Vinci, famous for his painting, ‘The Mona Lisa’, believed it made him smarter and kept evil thoughts out of his head.
Christian figures wore amethyst because the color purple represents Christ and is a symbol of Saint Matthias.
Saint Valentine even had an amethyst ring that was carved with the image of Cupid.
The most famous amethysts of all time sits in Queen Elizabeth’s jewelry collection and is called The Kent Amethysts.
For a long time, Amethyst was as valuable as diamonds. Today, the value has changed, but largely, its uses haven’t.
What is amethyst?
The story of Amethyst in Greek mythology was founded on some facts. Amethyst was indeed a type of Quartz, and it ranges in color from reddish-purple to deep violet.
Its value then came from legends and the rarity of deposits.
It wasn’t till the 19th century that large deposits were discovered in South America and countries like Canada, Russia, Zambia, Tanzania and Sri Lanka.
Today, amethyst is a popular crystal used for its perceived metaphysical properties.
Amethyst is no stranger to replication, and there is a lot of fake amethyst on the market.
In this post, we’ll share 12 pro tips on how to know if amethyst is real.
Raw vs cut
It’s easier to tell if raw amethyst is real than it is cut amethyst. Raw amethyst forms as geodes, clusters, and long single terminations.
It’s not always deep purple. The color of the rock is unevenly distributed, and usually, it’s darkest at its tips.
Cut amethyst is harder to distinguish. It can be cut into several different shapes, and be mimicked in labs.
Luckily, there are some tests you can use to distinguish fake vs real amethyst.
How to tell if amethyst is real: 12 pro tips to check if its real
1. Clarity test
Amethyst is said to be “eye clean”. In other words, flaws are not visible to the naked eye.
It is only with a device called a loupe (or magnifying glass) that they can be detected. Real amethyst is clear and may have imperfections or inclusions.
Hold up your amethyst to the light and look through it. This is the first stage of how to tell if amethyst is real using the clarity test.
If there are strange materials that are not known to be a part of real amethyst, it is immediately disqualified.
The hue may change when introduced to different light sources. If you can’t tell, check with a 10X loupe.
2. How to tell if amethyst is real: the Imperfection test
Natural quartz has thread-like imperfections. Using a 10X loupe, you should observe liquid inclusions, mineral crystals, and goethite/hematite inclusions.
Round, gas bubbles, and cracks mean that is an amethyst fake. As imitations get more advanced, they have begun adding imperfections/inclusions.
These are, however, not as irregular as you’d observe in a real amethyst gem.
You can also use this test to tell if jade is real since uniformity and perfections don’t occur naturally in these crystals.
3. Color observation
Amethyst is usually seen in a purple form, but this isn’t the only color it can appear in.
The color is also unevenly distributed throughout the crystal. In other words, real amethyst displays color zoning.
If it’s entirely purple, there may be a chance you have a synthetic amethyst.
Color zoning is any uneven distribution of colors within a gemstone. This is caused by mineral concentration, temperature changes, and other factors that change as the crystal is formed.
Color zoning affects the value of the crystal.
Use a white background to check for color zoning. Variations including white and blue, along with the different shades of purple indicate the stone is an authentic amethyst.
Fake amethyst is typically entirely purple, but more recently, its manufacturers have begun replicating color zoning.
4. How to tell if amethyst is real: Cut examination
Each amethyst crystal is naturally rhombohedral in shape. They look sort of like pointy teeth.
Synthetic amethyst is produced in blocks. These are then cut to mimic the natural shape of the rock.
More often than not, they have no real points.
If the amethyst has a round-cut, check for color zoning and discoloration.
Other popular cuts include pear shapes, heart, emerald and squares.
5. How to tell if amethyst is real or fake with a Specific gravity test
Real amethyst has a specific gravity of 2.65. If you have access to a chemistry set or lab, you’ll need a beaker, a scale, and some water to carry out this test.
Step 1: Place the beaker on the scale and record its weight.
Step 2: Place the amethyst on the scale and record its weight.
Step 3: Partially fill the beaker with water. Use the measurements at the side of the beaker to figure out how much water you have in the beaker.
Step 4: Double-check your figures.
Step 5: Add the amethyst to the water. Write down the new measurement of the water on the side of the beaker.
Step 6: Subtract the measurement of the beaker with water (Step 3) only from the measurement of the beaker plus water plus amethyst (Step 5).
This is how much the crystal displaces the water.
Step 7: Remove the amethyst, and pour the water from the beaker.
Step 8: Check your figures list for measurement of beaker plus water plus amethyst (Step 5).
Add this amount of water to the beaker, and weigh it.
Step 9: Check your figures list for the weight of the beaker when it was empty (Step 1).
Subtract that figure from the figure you get in Step 8. This gives you the weight of the water that was displaced.
Step 10: Finally, divide the weight of the amethyst (Step 2) by the weight of the displaced water (Step 9).
Your answer should be 2.65 or something close to that. If it’s far off, there’s a chance you have a fake amethyst.
If you don’t have access to these instruments, but you have experience with crystals, you may be able to judge it by how it feels in your hand.
6. How to tell if amethyst is fake: Temperature check
Real amethyst should be cold to touch. This is because of its high thermal conductivity.
Ambient temperature (general air temperature) has little to no effect on amethyst.
Amethyst will eventually get warm when held for a long time or exposed to sunlight.
The best way to test this is not with your hands, but with your forehead.
NB: This is obviously not a scientific method. If you plan to use this test, combine it with another for greater accuracy.
7. Hardness test
The hardness of any mineral or rock is measured by the Mohs Hardness Scale.
‘Hardness’ in this sense refers to its resistance to being scratched. Amethyst is a variation of Quartz that has a hardness of 7 and is able to scratch any mineral below that score.
One way how to tell if amethyst is real is by scratching it on glass. If it’s real, it will leave a white streak behind, i.
e an indication of scratching. If it’s fake, the amethyst you have will instead be affected.
You may also use a knife that has a hardness of 6.5, or your fingernails that have a hardness of 2.
Diamond is at the top of the Mohs Hardness Scale, meaning it can’t be scratched by anything below it.
If you want to tell if your diamond is real, use glass, or even some amethyst.
8. How to tell if amethyst is authentic: Question the gem’s origin
When buying from a dealer, you are entitled to ask a few questions to ensure your are purchasing authentic gems.
One popular one is the gem’s origin.
Real amethyst is found in countries like Brazil, Uruguay, Mexico, Tanzania, Bolivia, Sri Lanka, Canada, Russia, and Zambia.
It’s also found in the U. S states of Colorado, Arizona, North Carolina, and South Carolina.
Note that there are many other places in the world where Amethyst deposits can be found, so it does not necessarily mean your amethyst is fake if its origin is not found on this list.
The point is that the majority of the Amethyst that is sold comes from these regions.
9. Consider the price
Don’t expect to pay less than $20 for real amethyst. Follow your gut. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
$20 is also at the lower end of the spectrum, so if you’re getting a large piece of amethyst for that amount, you should be suspicious.
This isn’t you getting a bargain.
10. Beware of exotic names
These days, dealers are attaching exotic names to their crystals to entice customers into buying them.
Most of the time, the names are made up and have no scientific relation to the crystal.
They are generally synthetics or purple sapphire.
Some fake names you should be on the lookout for are lithia amethyst, Bengal amethyst, desert amethyst and Japanese amethyst.
11. How to tell if amethyst is real: Get a lab test
If you plan to purchase large quantities of amethyst, we suggest you get a lab test.
This is how to tell if amethyst is real for certain. Professional testing will cost you, but it’s better to be sure than to take a risk.
You can also use this method with other crystals and metals like gold, silver, sterling silver, platinum and whatever you can think of.
These professionals have all the tools, chemicals and equipments to differentiate real and fake.
12. Buy from a gem trader
All amethyst isn’t the same. Some are considered more valuable than others and are divided into categories or grades.
At the lower end of the spectrum, amethyst may have a grayish to pale purple color.
This type of amethyst is the least valuable.
Category A, or AA, appears as light or medium-dark purple and is moderately to heavily included.
This represents about 50-75% of amethysts that are available.
The top 20-30% of amethyst fall into the AAA Category. It is vivid, medium-dark purple, and is ‘eye clean’.
It’s used in fine jewelry and fetches a higher price.
The most expensive amethyst is Category AAA. It’s even rarer, and the cuts are impeccable.
This is the type of amethyst you’d find at Rodeo Drive or 5th Avenue jewelers.
If you want to buy amethyst to add to your crystal collection, use a reputable gem trader.
This person should have reviews from real customers, experience in the business, a professional-looking website, and be able to answer specific questions about the crystal.
He/she should also be affiliated with organizations such as the American Gem Trade Association and the Federal Trade Commission.
Amethyst may not be as valuable as it was in the past, but it is still considered a semi-precious gem.
Now that you know how to tell if amethyst is real, it’s time to talk about caring for it properly.
Remove amethyst jewelry when doing chores, especially ones that include chemicals.
Though it is considered durable, it is not immune to wear and tear.
Be sure to clean your amethyst regularly to maintain brilliant shine. Warm, soapy water can be used, along with a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub dirty pieces.
You may also use an ultrasonic cleaner. Steam cleaning will ruin your amethyst.
Never leave your amethyst in direct sunlight. Heat will cause it to lose its vivid, purple color and become pale.
Store your amethyst in a cool, dry place, like a silk or velvet-lined jewelry box.
Q. What should I look for when buying amethyst?
A. When buying amethyst, ensure the buyer is reputable. Next, check the color, clarity, temperature, and cut.
Never buy amethyst with ‘exotic’ names and be sure to ask about its origins.
Q. Why are amethysts so cheap?
A. The majority of amethyst that is available to us is low quality and will fetch a lower price than other semi-precious stones.
If it’s too cheap, there’s a possibility it may be synthetic.
Q. Why is my amethyst turning white?
A. Amethyst begins to lose its color when exposed to heat. From a spiritual standpoint, it means your amethyst is holding onto too much negative energy and needs to be cleansed.
Q. Can amethyst be left in the sun?
A. No. This will cause the amethyst to fade.
Q. Can I wash my amethyst?
A. Yes. Amethyst is hard enough to be washed with warm soapy water. Avoid harsh soaps and cleansers.
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