Amethysts for February
“Amethysts are the February birthstone – so if you, or someone you know, have a birthday coming up, read on for some serious gift inspiration…
In their best form, amethysts have a rich purple hue. The regal colour of the stone is probably why, historically, it was limited to wear by clergy and kings: a magnificent amethyst sits atop the Royal Sceptre of the British Crown Jewels, and Catholic bishops traditionally have their Episcopal rings set with an amethyst. At one time, their value was considered on a par with rubies, emeralds and sapphires.
The love affair with amethysts continued with the Victorians, who set them into all sorts of pieces, from delicate rings to full rivieres. They look stunning surrounded by seed pearls, or matched with contrasting amethysts. Art Nouveau jewellers loved its ethereal tones for feather light pendants. And in contemporary jewellery, the deep purple of the stone look striking against a yellow gold setting.
As a form of quartz amethyst is a fairly hardy stone, ideal for everyday wear. It can range from very light to inky and dark, but its most prized hue is deep and saturated, with an even tone across the stone. Amethysts and citrines often grow in the same environment – and even sometimes as one stone, half golden yellow and half purple! It is referred to as ametrine and is not that uncommon – certainly something interesting to watch out for!
The good news is that amethysts don’t have to be particularly pricey! And at O’Reilly’s, we always have a beautiful selection of amethyst pieces in every sale. Our February 24 auction will be no different – watch out for the new catalogue, online from February 11th, to see all the forthcoming pieces.”