Yet there was a time when the amethyst, which is also February’s birthstone, was seen to be just as valuable as diamonds, rubies and sapphires. Purple, after all, is a colour associated with royalty. That and its rarity made the amethyst a highly esteemed gemstone; it frequently featured in the jewels worn by kings and queens, as well as other powerful figures like the Pope.
That is, until the early 19th century, when vast deposits of the violet treasure were discovered in Brazil. Now a common crystal, the amethyst’s value is mostly determined by its hues, which is also what sets it apart from other minerals of the quartz family.
Depending on the presence of iron or the effects of irradiation, the amethyst can come in quite a range of colours, from pinkish lavender to deep purple. The most prized among them is a strong purple hue with red undertones, which you’ll find mostly in the finest jewellery creations.
In 1947, for example, Cartier famously designed an extravagant bib necklace for the Duchess of Windsor that heavily featured the amethyst — including a large, heart-shaped one at the centre of it. The purple gem is also a favourite of Bulgari; the Italian jeweller often incorporates it into its bold designs, such as its Serpenti watches.
It’s clear that the amethyst is still highly regarded by some of the biggest luxury brands today. Below, we spotlight some jewellery brands that have taken artistic liberties with the gemstone, producing marvellous jewels that would make a perfect gift for those born in February.
Header photo credit: Dior
Tiffany & Co. designer Paloma Picasso is well known for her love of coloured gemstones, which is celebrated in the new Paloma’s Studio collection. These earrings are just one of the many offerings that feature the amethyst. Here, the purple gemstone was specially cut to be set into the hexagon-shaped gold earrings, creating a stunning piece of everyday jewellery.
(Photo credit: Tiffany & Co.)
February is not only the month when the amethyst shines, but also when love takes centre stage. This cocktail ring from Chaumet’s Bee My Love collection, then, will make a very timely (and romantic) gift. It features a large, oval-cut amethyst stone, set amidst diamond-embellished bees that are as drawn to the violet gem as your loved one will be.
(Photo credit: Chaumet)
Few amethyst jewels will top the lavish Cartier bib necklace that we mentioned earlier, but that hasn’t stopped the French jeweller from incorporating the purple stone into its designs. This high jewellery bracelet is a breathtaking display of Cartier’s craftsmanship, featuring sparkling rows of brilliant-cut diamonds and baguette-cut amethysts in various hues.
(Photo credit: Cartier)
As its name suggests, Chopard’s Imperiale collection is dedicated to “modern-day empresses.” This necklace nails the theme on the head with its glowing pendant made of amethyst, a stone with royal associations. Here, it’s set within arabesque swirls made of rose gold, lending a feminine touch to the jewellery piece.
(Photo credit: Chopard)
New York jeweller Paolo Costagli has a flair for geometric jewellery designs, and this Brilliante Valentina ring is a shining example. A hefty, 3.01-carat amethyst was specially cut with modern engineering techniques to create Costagli’s signature three-dimensional cube, which sits upon a rose gold band lined with pavé diamonds.
(Photo credit: Paolo Costagli)
Moritz Glik’s playful designs have won over the likes of Michelle Obama and Nicole Kidman, but the New York label truly made a name for itself with its signature Kaleidoscope pieces, comprising hand-cut sapphire crystal windowpanes filled with precious gems. These rose gold earrings are one example that you can wear all February. It features a 1.65-carat pink amethyst, whose colour is brought out even more by the tiny pink sapphires that are enclosed within the dangling white sapphire domes.
(Photo credit: Moritz Glik)
There are roses, and then there are amethyst roses. The latter can be found all across the Rose Dior Pré Catelan collection, which pays tribute to the French brand’s founder and his love for the romantic flower. Dior creates each amethyst rose, as seen in this necklace, by delicately cutting into the violet gem by hand. The resulting bloom boasts exquisite petals that are as detailed as they are crystal clear, like something out of a fairytale.
(Photo credit: Dior)