Amethyst is the purple variety of quartz and African amethyst is highly saturated, usually a deep, grape purple. Until the 19th century it was a rare stone, as expensive as ruby and emerald, but then large deposits were found and the price came down. It's still one of the most enduringly popular gemstones; the birthstone for February and as the price does not rise disproprotionately with carat size, is affordable even in large sizes. African material does tend to be more included than Brazilian material and can sometimes have a slightly hazy appearance. With amethyst, the more saturated the colour, the more valuable, but this also has to be weighed up against the clarity and the fact that when the colour is too dark, the stones can appear very dark, almost black; the colour is 'closed' and this is undesirable. We aim for a good deep but still open colour in our stones.