What is really wrong with saying "green amethyst"? It doesn't seem
like a misnomer really
Amethyst is purple, not green. Any other color of quartz is not
amethyst. If yellow, it's citrine. To illustrate, please consider
these varieties of beryl: goshenite isn't referred to as white
"emerald," or morganite as pink "emerald," or aquamarine as blue
"emerald," we should not refer to prasiolite as green "amethyst." It
really is a misnomer.
(it is amethyst that has been heat changed by man or mother
nature), and not "deleterious to common understanding"
As you said, it has been changed. It has been changed from amethyst
to prasiolite. If it has been changed from amethyst to prasiolite,
referring to it as amethyst is most certainly "deleterious to common
And it certainly sounds better than green quartz (esp. when people
assume 'quartz' is glass these days) and what average consumer is
going to buy something they don't know how to pronounce
(prasiolite)? I don't think I would have back before I got
interested in minerals.
This is, of course, why people are calling prasiolite by this name,
so they can sell more of it by increasing desire via using a more
widely known variety of quartz. Sure, you'll sell more in the short
term, but when people find out that it isn't really amethyst, they
will feel ripped off and will hesitate to purchase gems and jewelry
from the industry who told them their green quartz is amethyst.
Oh, I know the purists are going to freak out over anything
slightly off center, and they'd probably prefer it if everyone
called stones by their chemical comp. names rather than common
names. But Jane Public or John Doe isn't going to care about that..
This isn't about purism, it's about not intentionally misleading the
public about what we're selling them. Jane Public would be
absolutely livid if she found out that the green "ruby" she bought
was really only a cheap, $20/ct sapphire. Just as a ruby must be red,
an emerald must be green, an amethyst must be purple. When
translucent zoisite is a dreary brownish color, it's just brown
zoisite. When enhanced to violetish blue or purple, it is Tanzanite.
If dealers referred to the natural crystal as brown "tanzanite" and
told the public that "it is great for opening the spleen chakra and
vibrates to the number eleventy-one" it would probably sell like
hotcakes. And that's what it is all about. Few jewelry store
customers will buy pale green prasiolite, but plenty of folks will
consider green "amethyst." Just remember that every time a retailer
sells it under this name, eventually most of them will find out that
it isn't amethyst at all.
This issue wouldn't seem like a real issue, not like the smokey
quartz vs. smokey topaz issue, or other hugely misleading names
As a gemologist who does appraisals for the public and various
organizations, I know that referring to prasiolite as green
"amethyst" on an official document would be not only incorrect, but
completely unprofessional and absolutely irresponsible. Selling it
under that name would be just as incorrect. Use all the misnomers you
want, but don't complain when you've lost your customer's confidence
by selling them something that isn't what you told them it was. Maybe
that issue would be real enough for everyone.
James S. Duncan, G.G.
James in SoFL