Designing Gemstone Jewelry: Amethyst, February’s Birthstone


The colors of amethyst (from lavender to deepest purple) and the variety of shapes it is cut into (faceted, cabs, bullets, crystals, and geode slices) offer designers limitless possibilities to use the stone either as a focal point or an accent in gemstone jewelry.

ABOVE: Dagny Stacking Ring. Courtesy Dara de Koning.

gemstone jewelry: Emily Chesick for Murphy Design amethyst pendant
The simplicity of the shape of this lovely amethyst is matched by the simplicity of the flowing lines of the 14k yellow gold mounting. Photo Corey Morse. Design by Emily Chesick for Murphy Design. Courtesy Patrick Murphy, Murphy Design.

Sometimes the saturated color of amethyst is all that is needed, as in this simple pendant by Emily Chesick for Murphy Design (above). In amethyst, says Patrick Murphy, “We look for . . . bright, saturated colors with minimal inclusions.” The only accent is a fine-quality faceted amethyst set into the mounting.

gemstone jewelry: Starburst amethyst earrings by Dara de Koning
Starburst Earrings. Amethysts provide an elegant emphasis to the color of these purple chalcedony cabs, all set off by 18k yellow gold. Courtesy Dara de Koning.

Some designers stay within the same color family when working with amethyst. Daria de Koning has used medium-toned cabochon amethysts, for example, to emphasize the color of the purple chalcedony set in her 18k yellow gold Starburst earrings.

gemstone jewelry: ametrine pendant by Patrick Murphy
The colors in a custom carved ametrine are emphasized by the skilled use of yellow sapphire and richly hued pear-shaped amethyst in this 14k yellow gold pendant. Photo Corey Morse. Courtesy Patrick Murphy, Murphy Design.

The two zones of color in this ametrine have been skillfully delineated by the cutter. But gemstone jewelry designer Patrick Murphy has further emphasized the complementary colors of the amethyst and citrine by setting this 14k yellow gold pendant with a round yellow sapphire and pear-shaped amethyst. “The piece was very much inspired by its unusual cut,” says Murphy.

Dagny stacking rings by Dara de Koning gemstone jewelry
Dagny Stacking Ring. A riot of gemstones, including amethysts, make these stacking rings a joy to wear. Courtesy Dara de Koning.

In her Dagny series of stacking rings (above and top), de Koning moves away from a single color family in gemstone jewelry and has skillfully combined pastel amethysts with other pastel shades of green and indicolite tourmaline, rainbow moonstone, peridot, blue topaz, and iolite for a playful punch of cool colors.

gemstone jewelry by Eileen Quinn DelDuca
Left: The coming of spring was a dream when DelDuca created this pendant of spring colors set with drusy chrysocolla, amethyst and tsavorite. Right: Amethyst bullet-shaped cabs form an equal partnership with chrysocolla drusy set off by tsavorite in these 14k yellow gold earrings. Photos courtesy Eileen Quinn DelDuca, Eileen Quinn Goldsmith.

Eileen Quinn DelDuca, too, has combined amethysts with gemstones not in the same color family. Yet the amethyst cabs work exceptionally well with green tsavorite to accent the chrysocolla drusies in these earrings and pendant. The gemstone jewelry pieces, says Quinn DelDuca, “are from the Celebration series of pieces I made after purchasing the beautiful drusies at the Tucson gem shows. I live in New York state. It had been another cold dreary winter. I wanted to celebrate the coming of spring with the festive colors the season would bring.”

gemstone jewelry amethyst crystal Layne Designs
A handmade Etruscan chain with a natural amethyst geode slice in sterling silver presents a nice blend between smooth finish and rough texture. Courtesy Layne Freedline, Layne Designs.

Also focusing on texture, Layne Freedline features a slice of amethyst geode in her sterling silver necklace. “I relish the chance to use a textured gemstone,” says Freedline, “because it shows off the fascinating crystal structure wrought by Mother Nature. A geode slice on its own sits on a shelf and collects dust. But set in a necklace, we can feel the cold stone against our skin, watch it sparkle as it moves through a room. You can view it without the fear of dropping or losing it now that it is set. Ideally, the style of the setting presents the stone without distracting from it but still manages to add the voice of the jewelry artist.”

Sharon Elaine Thompson is a GG and FGA who has been writing about gemstones and jewelry for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1987. She also writes a line of birthstone romance novels under the name Liz Hartley.

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