Along with clear quartz, amethyst is probably the most commonly used stone by witches, crystal healers, and various new age practitioners. I can’t really say I blame them, either– the deep purple of dark amethyst is one of my favorite colors, and the stones themselves are almost always pleasant to hold and work with. Chevron and banded amethysts have a unique beauty all of their own, and make for both gorgeous specimen stones and useful magickal tools.
What is it?
Amethyst itself is a variety of quartz. Similar to smoky quartz, it is subject to irradiation from natural sources while underground. Unlike smoky quartz, iron and other trace elements take the place of some of the silicon in the stone’s structure. As a result, amethysts are purple instead of colorless or smoky.
Banded amethysts are just amethysts that exhibit a distinct banded formation, usually with white quartz. This actually isn’t uncommon, but the most prized amethysts are ones that have a uniform coloration. As a result, most amethysts are cut in a way that results in an evenly-colored stone; this eliminates the presence of any banding.
Chevron amethysts are banded amethysts that exhibit a characteristic v-shaped pattern in their bands, versus the straight or slightly curved pattern of banded amethyst.
Where is it found?
The biggest deposits of chevron and banded amethyst are in Russia and India, but there are smaller deposits pretty much worldwide. (Except for Australia. Sorry, Australia… But you get Mooralla smoky quartz, so it’s probably about even.)
What do you do with it?
If you’re an unethical gem dealer, cook the crap out of it and make some “citrine.”
For serious, it’s a pretty common practice. Arguably most of the citrine (particularly the very intense orange stuff) on the market is actually heat-treated amethyst. Here’s a video about citrine, including how to spot a fake.
If you’re a regular person, banded and chevron amethysts combine the properties of amethyst, clear quartz, and white quartz. It’s a stone often used for emotional healing, enhancing intuition and psychic abilities, aiding in meditation, helping to overcome addictions and bad habits, and attracting love. Keeping an amethyst geode in a bedroom is said to help ward off nightmares.
What about its other associations?
Element: Air, water.
Planet: Jupiter, Neptune.
Herbs: Lavender, chamomile, sweetgrass, mugwort.
Astrological signs: Pisces, Aquarius.
How do I care for it?
Amethyst is about as sturdy as quartz, so it can be cleaned and cleansed in many of the same ways quartz can. There’s one notable exception, though– amethyst is one of those stones that you really don’t want to leave in the sun. That can cause fading and discoloration, reducing a lot of the stone’s striking visual appeal.
How can I spot fakes?
Most of the fake amethysts are used in jewelry. Irradiation can help produce stones with a lovely dark, uniform color– something that’s difficult to achieve in natural amethyst. Specimens of banded or chevron amethyst are generally not faked.