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Red amethyst?

Hi there

One of my favorite customers came to see me recently. She owns some
completely amazing pieces of jewellery - she is a great collector of
antiques from around the world and often gets me to alter, reset, etc
for her as well as make her some new pieces. She knows a lot about
gemstones and owns some huge chunks of beautiful precious and
semi-precious stones.

Anyway - she came to me the other day with a new purchase. It was a
ring in an unusual and I think Russian style (clearly simply cast
from a master into a rich yellow alloy (I would guess 18ct or 20ct
gold) - yellow gold but showing age and wear in line with a ring
around about 50-100 years old at a guess. It is in a clearly Russian
style. The ring holds a huge stone (about 20mm across and very
highly facetted - very well cut actually). I thought at first it was
a spinel perhaps or even a deep pink tourmaline - but it didn’t look
quite right for either of those - more of an amethyst purple with a
sort of ‘shot’ of pinky/red through it. It is clearly a real stone
which unfortunately has a tiny chip on the surface but it is only
very shallow. Anyway - she thinks it might be a red amethyst. It is
purple with a hint of hot-pink at some angles and clearly pink with
red flashes at other angles - it is quite a sensational stone.

Does anybody know anything about red amethyst whether this could be
a possibility? I think I must get it tested for her because I am
concerned that it could be quite a valuable stone and want to check
that she has it properly insured.

Any tips would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance for any help!

There is no such thing as a red amethyst. Amethyst, by definition,
is the purple variety of quartz. Without having seen the stone, I
would lay high odds on the stone being a synthetic. Have seen tons of
material coming out of Russia over the years, always purported to be
natural, that is synthetic. Get it tested at a gem lab if you don’t
have the equipment.

Daniel R. Spirer, G.G.
Daniel R. Spirer Jewelers, LLC
1780 Massachusetts Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02140

hey harriet, it could be a form of tourmaline. i don’t know if you
know about the website, but they have all
different crystals and minerals. plus they have alot of
i hope the website is able to assist you.

I have the good news and the bad news.

Good news first:

There is such a thing as red amethyst. Trade name is “Siberian”. Like
any trade name it’s been prostituted very heavily because the real
ones are much harder to find that many realize. In all my time I have
seen only 1. It was November 1979. I was attending Gem Show of New
York Gem Club. I did not purchase it and still kicking myself for

Bad news:

Russians did not use casting 50 years ago. Antique russian jewelry
always hand fabricated. If the ring is cast it is not old. Any
amethyst must be suspected lab-grown, even if you buy it at the mine.
There is no gemological test which would definitely separate natural
amethyst from lab-grown. Sometimes, if amethyst has characteristic
inclusions which can be linked to a particular geographical location,
than maybe. But it is far above the ability of the run of mill
appraiser. However, since amethysts are generally clean, it is a
remote possibility. You need to find a gemologist with a lot of
experience in amethysts which is probably rarer than the stone

Leonid Surpin.

Dear harriet,

Your customers ring is holding a synthetic Alexanderite more than
likely. They are very common and have been made fore years. If it is
not synthetic it and it is large it is worth a kings ransom and the
stone would be very very rare. The red hue is an attempt to mimic the
color change real Alexanderite exhibits in nature. Natural
Alexanderites over a carat are are not easy to find and can run
$10,000 per carat for very high quality clean stones.

J Morley

there is a quartz deposit in the united states in north georgia that
has the most beautifull amethyst i have ever seen it is quite red and
seems to me to have alot more sparkle than material ive seen from
other places. a friend of mine is being paid to cut some of this
material but the folks in charge of the operation are very guarded
about thier stones and will only sell the cut material no rough last
i heard wholsale was around $100 p/ct maybe more i couldnt afford it
as retail risk later



Your description matches the description of a once-popular synthetic
corundum, produced in Eastern Europe and sold widely before WWII.
Often cut in large sizes. A quick check of the RI should provide a
clue. Another clue is wear…amethyst will not wear for many years
without showing some obvious abrasion…the synthetic corundum will
generally remain like new.

Check the color of the stone under an incandescent light source and
compare it to the color in daylight. Asimilar synthetic corundum has
been masquerading as “alexandrite” for many, many years, so that is
another possibility.

Value is generally low.

Good luck,

there is a quartz deposit in the united states in north georgia
that has the most beautifull amethyst i have ever seen it is quite
red and seems to me to have alot more sparkle than material ive seen
from other places. 

You are not talking about “Four peaks mine” are you ? Can you post
more info ?

Leonid Surpin.

Your description matches the description of a once-popular
synthetic corundum, produced in Eastern Europe and sold widely
before WWII

Actually this post rang a bell. Thought I’d let the gemologists duke
it out, first. Jo-Ann has pretty much the same ring, in a way - a
reddish-purple synthetic sapphire (we know) that’s quite lovely, set
in a Russian or Russian-esque ring, with appliqued leaves in
different gold colors and stuff - large and very beautiful in a
Faberge kind of way. It’s worth a lot more as a fine historical piece
than it’s inherent value, in our case.

there is a quartz deposit in the united states in north georgia
that has the most beautifull amethyst i have ever seen it is quite

I think that some of the locals around Franklin NC would probably
know more about this. There are a lot of rockhounds around there and
it is just across the line from Georgia. Also, The original Dillards
in Dillard Georgia is a nice place to eat “family style” meals.

Dan Wellman

Jackson’s Crossing, maybe? There are a number of amethyst locations
in Georgia. Four Peaks is in Arizona, of course.

Al Balmer
Sun City, AZ

Hi John,

I agree about the historical value. Some of these materials are
still being manufactured today, but here’s something to think about.
I said in my post that these were low value items, but…while the
material itself, in the rough, is inexpensive, it is not cheap to
have a fifteen carat synthetic corundum cut in this country and no
one that I can find makes replacements for those stones. There is a
rosy-lilac synthetic corundum that I believe matches the poster’s
original description perfectly, although they may have the much
darker synthetic corundum that mimics color-change chrysoberyl
(Alexandrite). But, having to replace one of those larger stones is
not cheap.

Wayne Emery

You are not talking about "Four peaks mine" are you ? Can you post
more info ? 

Four Peaks Mine is in Arizona, 1500 miles or something from Georgia.
Out of curiousity I searched for red amethyst. All I found was some
that was purple with a vague reddishness, and some specimens from a
mine in Canada that were quite red but they looked like cinnabar -
not translucent much less transparent. And the info that red amethyst
is so because there’s a layer of iron oxide in the crystal. Just out
of curiosity… I suspect that the stone in question is as Wayne said
the other day, and what Jo-Ann also has one of - a reddish purple
synthetic sapphire that could quite easily be thought to be amethyst,
though it has corundum lustre. Beautiful stone, though it’s

The Four Peaks amethyst mine is in Arizona. The Four Peaks formation
is visible from our home here in Mesa.

Pam in finally cool Mesa.

The Four Peaks amethyst mine is in Arizona 

Thank you all, but I am aware that Four Peaks mine is not in
Georgia. I mentioned Four Peaks because it is highly unlikely that
another source of high grade amethyst sprang up from nowhere. Maybe
someone will post more info on this source. Is that really a new
find, or another distribution channel for existing source like Four

Leonid Surpin.

This is a very interesting post. I believe I have one of these
stones. It is perfectly faceted, flawless top, wonderful changeable
sparkle, and absolutely clear. It is 16 mm round, but I have no idea
how many carats! I thought I probably had a valuable Alexanderite!

It came about many years ago when I was taking casting classes and
silver got to an abounding price of $39 and ounce. People were
cashing in their rings, etc., for cash, so I went to a local Gold
and Silver exchange and bought a teacup full of recovered stones for
$10. I have been using many of the neat stones for years - one of
which was this “changeable red”, and a Wedgwood “cab”.

I presented this to Richard Hart, and was disappointed to find it
wasn’t the Alexanderite - hoping a fortune!! So…I have only a small
percentage of $10 invested in it, and a neat sparkling specimen of
some kind!

Rose Marie Christison

Leonid: Four Peaks is the famous Arizona locality outside of
Phoenix. Jackson Crossroad is the No. Georgia hotspot for amythest

Dave Owen

Hi there everybody

Many thanks for all of your fascinating replies which I have been
reading with huge interest. I have found out so many things from
your postings!

Hmmm - corundum - a possibility. I actually own a large synthetic
piece of synthetic corundum about this colour (not huge - about 7mm)
that Ahmed Shareek gave me when I was in Sri Lanka because it is in
an interesting and beautiful stone - I have found this stone really
interesting and very useful when showing my team here stones under
the microscope because you can clearly see the little bubbles in the
structure under the microscope but it really is a fantastic looking
fake and a very beautiful stone which is a rosy lilac colour and
also, interestingly, similarly facetted (very well cut - round with
a huge number of facets around the star area). When you look at it
with the naked eye you would certainly believe it to be real. But I
would say that this customer’s stone is which is fairly similar in
colour in some ways is much less blue/watery in the way that it
reflects the light than I have found corundum to be. And the purple
is more of an amethyst purple. But…similar enough for this to be a
definite contender. I would also say that this stone has a similar
’feel’ of hardness to corundum and despite the fact that it has a
tiny scratch, I think it has scratched like corrundum would
scratch…not sure…can’t decide! I too wondered about synthetic
alexandrite as my mum owns a lovely one - and I wondered if it was a
colour change stone that I was looking at in half daylight and half
natural light to get this effect. But I checked and the stone
definitely doesn’t exhibit any colour change.

I am going to ask the customer to bring it back in so that I can
photograph it and get it tested it for my own (I don’t
own any testing equipment as I usually just rely on my eyes and
experience as I don’t offer a testing service or anything). But this
one has really got me puzzled!!

It doesn’t quite sound like the red amethyst that some of the
subscribers have been describing… but possibly. Part of me believes
it must be natural because of its apparent age and the other part
believes it must be synthetic because it doesn’t quite fit into
anything that I can think of!

I’ll post some photos somewhere when I have them so that you can see
what you think!

Thanks and so much for all of your help so far,

Best wishes
Harriet (UK)


Try Siberian, many more hits and a better descriptions of the
material are available. Leonid suggested the alternate name and he
was correct, you won’t find much under red amethyst.


have you looked into the possibility that it is alexandrite.