Affordable "Green Amethyst" Gemstones
|Please welcome Merle White, the editor in chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, who tells us about a gem of a different color. It may be just what you’re looking for in spring jewelry designs.
––LR, editor Beading Daily
Isn't amethyst supposed to be purple?
How the heck can amethyst be green?
So it is with the case of "green amethyst," which was produced quite by accident at an old amethyst mine in Brazil sometime around the early 1950s. One day a miner stacked a bunch of rocks lying around near the mine into a makeshift firepit, lit a fire, and warmed his lunch over it. The rocks were actually bits of poor-quality amethyst that wasn't attractive enough to sell, but lo and behold, when the miner had finished his lunch, he discovered that the lousy purple rocks he'd heated up were now a delicate and attractive green!
|Nature does some strange things.
This quartz gem from Zambia is half amethyst (purple) and half green (prasiolite), and the colors most likely occurred naturally. Stone and photo: Si & Ann Frazier.
A green gem by any other name
I wouldn't call something that's no longer purple "amethyst" myself, but you can understand why it's often called "green amethyst." Some people actually call it "greened amethyst," which makes a little more sense to me, and some call it "prasiolite," from the Portuguese word the Brazilians use.
|A gem for all purposes
Like all quartz gems, prasiolite stands up well to the wear and tear of jewelry use, including rings. Rings tend to get banged around, so if a stone is durable enough for a ring, it's more than durable enough for anything else. Faceted 12mm green amethyst, courtesy Stuller Inc.; photo by Jim Lawson.
Today, there is plenty of "greened amethyst" or "prasiolite" on the market, now produced on purpose several ways, and it makes a great stone for spring. You can buy small or large sparkling faceted gems or beads for as little as $5 a carat.
|Romancing the stone
Green amethyst is pretty, durable, inexpensive, and has an amusing history––a great way to "romance the stone" if you sell handmade jewelry with stones. In the March 2010 issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist, you can learn a lot more about this versatile gem. Find out all you need to know to buy prasiolite, learn more of its history and the dozen other names it goes by, see how to make 3-stone earrings, wire wrap it up with other stones, and watch step by step as cover artist Nanz Aalund sets a light green quartz in a rivet capture. Stones courtesy Stuller Inc.; photo: Jim Lawson
|I don't know what winter's been like where you are, but here in the northeast it's been cold, white, or gray. Gems in sparkling spring green? I say bring it on!|
Yeah, we have that!
Learn to make these earrings with green amethyst (top, faceted gems), ruby-in-zoisite (center, green/purplish red stones), and sugilite (purple stones at bottom) in the March issue of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist. Designed by Managing Editor Helen Driggs. Photo: Jim Lawson
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