About Amethyst & Citrine
Amethyst is an absolutely beautiful stone and one which has remained popular throughout history to present day. You'll recognise amethyst as the purple variety of quartz, and being quartz makes amethyst both abundant and affordable. For this reason, amethyst is found quite frequently in antique jewellery including rings, brooches, pendants and bangles. Amethyst can vary in colour from a delicate light violet to a deep regal purple. It's a transparent to translucent stone, and amethyst crystals are commonly found in geodes. Usually only the ends of the crystals are purple, while the rest of the crystal is colourless. Amethyst can be found the world over, but particularly important deposits come from Brazil, Siberia, Bolivia, India, Madagascar, Zambia and Namibia.
Amethyst can be irradiated to produce the other type of quartz this page focuses on: citrine. Citrine is a yellow-golden-orange stone which can sometimes have hints of red or brown. Natural citrine stones are actually quite uncommon, and most stones you find on the market in jewellery started their lives as purple amethyst before being irradiated to produce the vibrant, golden yellow. This is a permanent change to the stone, so you needn't worry that you'll wake up one day to find your antique citrine jewellery has turned into amethyst jewellery! It is easy to tell when a stone as been irradiated? Unfortunately not, not least because irradiation can happen both naturally in the depths of the Earth, and in a laboratory.
Antique Amethyst Rings
Some of our favourite finds since we started dealing in antique jewellery have been antique amethyst rings. But why do we find amethyst rings so special? Well aside from the stone's obvious beauty, amethyst has been given many meanings by different peoples and cultures over the years. The ancient Greeks thought it could protect from drunkenness and overindulgence, and so wore amethyst rings and other jewellery, and even fashioned drinking vessels out of it. In the middle ages, people wore amethyst rings as protection and security, and to denote their humility and modesty. These were often carved as intaglios and set into amulets and rings. Interestingly, the stone was also worn by royals because power and wealth are often associated with the deep purple colour of amethyst stones. The stones were worn not just in royal rings, but also in crowns and other items of jewellery. The Church was another sector of society taken in by the charm of the deep purple amethyst stones, and as well as wearing amethyst set cross pendants and necklaces, Bishops and other members of the clergy would wear amethyst set Bishops' ecclesiastical rings.
Amethyst & Citrine Brooches
Coming forward in history to more recent times, both amethyst and citrine were affordable stones for the Victorian and Edwardian jewellers of the day. Amethyst in particular was hugely popular at the turn of the 20th century, particularly as it was one of the colours used in the suffragette movement. Jewellery set with stones in the colours green, white and purple is particularly sought after by collectors today, even if not hallmarked and no direct link to the suffragette movement can be made. Citrine is less often found in antique jewellery, however, it is a delight when it is found. You may have seen antique brooches and pendants with 'Cairngorm Citrine' set in them. Cairngorm is the name the Celts used to describe the quartz found in Scotland, most notably around Loch Tay, Perthshire. These types of citrines are commonly found set in silver brooches, though they can be found set in gold too. They typically come out of the ground as much darker smoky quartz, which is then heated to improve the colour, making it a deep orangey stone.
Vintage Amethyst Jewellery
Amethyst is sought in jewellery today because it's the birthstone for February and Pisces, but also because it's the stone of St Valentine, meaning a piece of amethyst jewellery given as a gift is a piece given with love. This doesn't have to be romantic love, amethyst is a beautiful stone for a mother or father to gift their daughter, from sister to sister or from aunt to niece.
Citrine Rings, Pendants & Brooches
Ctirine is the one of the birthstones for November, and given it's the colour of the sun, it's a stone of warmth and comfort. Citrine is also a stone that's associated with success and wealth. We think citrine works particularly well in brooches and it looks fabulous set in both sterling silver or gold.
Why choose vintage or antique jewellery?
Our view (and we sell modern amethyst jewellery over at our sister website Sterling & Wilde too so we're not bias) is that antique or vintage jewellery, whether its set with amethyst or citrine, has a special something that you just cannot get with modern jewellery. When you purchase antique jewellery, in your hand you hold an item which has been loved before and has been part of someone else's story. And actually, it's more than likely been part of more than one person's story. Old jewellery has survived world wars, new kings and queens, births, deaths, marriages, pandemics, civil unrest and who knows what else. And throughout all of those things, that antique piece of jewellery whether it be a ring, a pendant, a brooch, a bangle or something else has had one thing it common: it has consistently brought joy and happiness to its wearer. For that reason, we'd opt for antique or vintage every day of the week.