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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.