History of use

How to tell if an amethyst is real or not?

Amethyst is one of the most popular semi-precious stones, which attracts attention with its beautiful purple color. Real amethyst is a special object of devotion among collectors and jewelry lovers. However, making and selling artificial amethyst has become a common practice. Therefore, it is very important to know how to distinguish a real amethyst from an artificial one. In this article, you will learn the main signs to look for, as well as ways to determine the authenticity of an amethyst. First sign comes from the very name of the stone – amethyst. The term comes from the Greek a (not) and metousthos (intoxication), meaning not intoxicating. That is why in many ancient cultures amethyst was used as a talisman against drunkenness and was considered a symbol of sobriety and prudence. When choosing a real amethyst, mentally estimate how much its energy can influence you and cause an intoxicating effect. Second sign – This is the color of amethyst. True amethyst has a deep purple color that can range from pale lilac to a deep cherry purple. Artificial amethyst may show uneven coloration or synthetic impurities that can change the color. If you see an amethyst with a very bright blue-violet color, then it is most likely a man-made stone. Third sign consists of assessing the transparency of the amethyst. Real amethyst is transparent, allowing light to penetrate through the stone. In daylight, the internal structures of the mineral appear, creating a play of light and shades of color. Artificial amethyst, on the other hand, may be cloudy or contain many inclusions, reducing its clarity. When choosing an amethyst, make sure the stone is fairly clear and has no visible inclusions. The fourth sign – This is the hardness of amethyst. Amethyst is a type of quartz mineral that is characterized by high hardness. Use a knife or metal object to test the hardness of the stone. If an amethyst leaves scratches on the surface, it means it is an artificial stone or its quality is low. A real amethyst should be quite hard and not susceptible to damage. Fifth sign – this is the price of amethyst. The price of a real amethyst depends on several factors, including color, clarity, size and quality of workmanship. Artificial amethyst is usually sold at a low price compared to natural amethyst. If you see a very low price for an amethyst, be careful – this may be a sign that the stone is artificial. By following these simple signs, you can distinguish a real amethyst from an artificial one. Remember that genuine amethyst is a valuable and unique stone that can be used to create beautiful jewelry or add to your mineral collection.

The main characteristics of a real amethyst

1. Color and transparency

True amethyst has a deep purple color that can range from light purple to dark purple. It should be uniform and free of visible inclusions or stains. Artificial amethysts may be brighter or paler in color and may contain various impurities. In addition, a real amethyst should be transparent or slightly translucent. If the stone is too cloudy or has become cloudy over time, it may be a sign that it is artificial or of poor quality.

2. Crystal structure

Amethyst has a crystalline structure that can be seen upon closer inspection. It forms a hexagonal or long-prismatic crystal shape with pronounced edges. Artificial amethysts, such as glass or plastic, usually do not have this crystalline structure. If you have the opportunity, look at the stone through a magnifying glass or microscope – this will help you see the details of the structure and distinguish a real amethyst from an artificial one. It is important to note that these signs do not always guarantee the authenticity of an amethyst, so it is recommended that you contact a professional or certified jewelry brand to verify the authenticity of the stone.

Ways to identify a real amethyst

Identifying a real amethyst can be quite a challenge, especially for non-professionals. However, there are several characteristic features that will help you distinguish a real stone from an artificial one. First, you should pay attention to the color of the amethyst. Real amethyst has a rich, intense purple color that can fade into lilac or pink. Faux amethysts often have a paler or uneven color that appears artificial or pastel. Secondly, you can evaluate the transparency of the stone. Real amethyst usually has excellent transparency, which allows you to clearly see its internal inclusions and the play of light. Artificial amethysts may be less clear or contain artificial inclusions such as air bubbles or rainbow stripes. Also, it is worth paying attention to the cut of the amethyst. Real stones usually have a neat and symmetrical cut, which allows them to better refract light and create sparkle. Artificial amethysts often have uneven or poor-quality cuts, which can affect their appearance. Another sign of a real amethyst is its hardness. Real amethyst has a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, which means it will not be scratched by ordinary objects. Artificial amethysts may be softer and more susceptible to scratches. It is important to note that these signs can help you identify a real amethyst, but it is always best to consult a professional to confirm the authenticity of the stone. The work gives characteristics of the amethyst jewelry and ornamental stone. And the main ways to determine the authenticity of an amethyst are discussed both at home and in the laboratory using modern equipment. Amethyst is a crystalline mineral containing silicon dioxide with iron impurities (SiO2). The characteristic properties of the stone are a hardness of 7 on the Mohs scale, a violet tint in color, transparency with a glassy or pearlescent luster, a white streak and a conchoidal fracture. Amethyst often contains inclusions: liquid, gas-liquid and mineral. The shade range of natural amethysts has a wide range – from light pink to dark purple. The color distribution is usually uneven and is characterized by zoning. The color is usually concentrated at the very tip of the head and is more intense due to the presence of iron impurities. Amethyst is a type of quartz, but unlike ordinary quartz, the prismatic facets on amethyst crystals are usually weakly manifested; the facets of rhombohedrons dominate in the cutting of its crystals. Most often, amethysts are shaped like hexagonal crystals or rhombohedrons, similar to rock crystal. Sometimes in nature you can find long prismatic crystals, less often scepter-shaped (of all quartz, this shape is typical for amethyst), reaching a length of up to 35 cm. Most often, minerals are found in geodes of basalt rocks, where amethyst crystals form on the inner walls. The color of natural amethyst is uneven in the form of zones and spots, sometimes yellowish inclusions can be seen. The gem is capable of changing color depending on the lighting angle and temperature. When calcined to 400-500°C, the crystals become yellow or green or colorless with longer exposure. Since this stone is popular nowadays, the question of its falsification arises. How to distinguish a natural amethyst from a fake? Amethyst is a common breed, but its expensive original examples are often counterfeited. A fake gem can be made of plastic or glass. Plastic imitation Plastic can be passed off as amethyst, then the fake can be easily detected. It’s lightweight, warm to the touch, scratch resistant, and inexpensive. Even a non-specialist can distinguish a plastic imitation from a natural amethyst. Amethyst glass Transparent amethysts are replaced with painted crystal glass. By what signs can you distinguish imitation? The glass is easily scratched with a knife and does not damage porcelain and other glass; the rock is evenly colored: natural stone always has zoning, since it grows unevenly, so the pigment and crystals are arranged differently; If you put an amethyst in water, it will acquire a thicker color and turn pale at the edges. The glass will remain unchanged; Natural amethyst heats up slowly when squeezed in your hand. The imitation heats up to human body temperature faster; a glass fake of a mineral changes color in the light and under the rays of the sun; amethyst retains color; air bubbles and microcracks are present inside the original gem; It is impossible to fake them in glass, as well as in synthetic stones. You can examine these signs in more detail using a magnifying glass or under a microscope. Synthetic amethyst Amethyst can be grown artificially. Synthetic amethyst is based on the same silica, the color is identical. Examining such a stone under magnification, we will not find cracks or gas inclusions, but the arrangement of the crystals has a certain character. Experts know about these features. You can distinguish an artificial stone by price and appearance (natural amethyst is not inserted into cheap jewelry). But in general, only special examination will help to distinguish artificial amethyst crystals from natural ones. Purpose of scientific work: conduct an examination of 5-6 samples of real amethyst and its analogues and determine authenticity. Equipment used: optical metallographic microscope with a large depth of focus (MBS-10) (Fig. 1); Mohs scale (Fig. 2); magnifying glass Rice. 1. Optical metallographic microscope Rice. 2. Reference samples of the Mohs scale

  • Sample 1 – stone druses (Fig. 3),
  • Sample 2 – polished amethysts (Fig. 4),
  • Sample 3 – amethyst in a tree-shaped product (Fig. 5),
  • Sample 4 – amethyst ring (Fig. 6).

Rice. 3. Amethyst druzy

Rice. 4. Polished amethyst samples

Rice. 5. Souvenir in the form of an amethyst tree

Rice. 6. Amethyst ring

Checking the authenticity of amethyst at home and in the laboratory. Conducting an experiment.

There are several ways to determine the authenticity of an amethyst at home. It is necessary to take into account the properties of the stone, from which one can draw conclusions about its naturalness. First of all, you should pay attention to visual signs. The appearance of natural stone is characterized by:

The presence of a “natural”, not too bright, uneven purple color. The color of natural stone should not change depending on the lighting; it should retain its shade in both daylight and artificial light. All analyzed samples meet this requirement

Presence of inclusions. Inclusions are clearly visible on druses, and growth crystals are visible on polished amethysts (Fig. 7), therefore they are natural. At magnification (x 32) of a microscope, the ring looks like a homogeneous mass, therefore, based on this, we determine that the amethyst in the ring is not natural.

Rice. 7. Crystal growth on polished amethyst samples

Thermal conductivity

Natural amethyst has low thermal conductivity, so heating occurs slowly. Natural stone, unlike fake stone, will remain cool in your hands for a long time. You can clearly see the difference if you hold a real and fake amethyst in your hands at the same time: the fake stone will become warm very quickly. Sample No. 4 did not pass the authenticity test.

Hardness of natural amethyst on the Mohs scale equal to 7 – this means that this mineral is harder in its properties than many types of steel. Amethyst will retain its texture, uniformity and integrity for many years, because it will not be scratched by everyday dust or sand.

The scratching hardness of amethyst druses according to standard minerals on the Mohs scale (Fig. 8) is 7, so this gem is natural.

The hardness of polished amethysts during the experiment was 7 on the Mohs scale – these samples are genuine.

Rice. 8. Determination of the hardness of amethyst druse on the Mohs scale

The hardness of the wood product is 7, which means these samples are also natural.

The hardness of the ring when scratched (Fig. 9) turned out to be equal to 4, which indicates that the amethyst is fake (this hardness corresponds to fluorite).

Thus, during the examination, the naturalness of amethyst was confirmed by the natural color of the mineral, impurities, thermal conductivity, growth crystals, and hardness. Based on the stated parameters, the authenticity of natural stones was determined and a synthetic analogue was identified.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button