Distinguishing Purple Stones

The species of purple minerals, such as quartz, amethyst, corundum, spinel, garnet, and spodumene, and the varying shades of purple gems and precious stones

Among the mineral species that furnish purple stones, (1) quartz is preeminent in the fineness of the purple color. Such purple stones are, of course, known as amethysts. After quartz come (2) corundum (Oriental amethyst), (3) spinel (almandine spinel), (4) garnet (almandine), and (5) spodumene (variety kunzite).

The purple of the amethyst varies from the palest tints to the full rich velvety grape-purple of the so-called Siberian amethysts. The latter are of a reddish purple (sometimes almost red) by artificial light, but of a fine violet by daylight. No other purple stone approaches them in fineness of coloring, so that here we have a real distinction based on color alone. If the purple is paler, however, one cannot be sure of the mineral by its color. Purple corundum (Oriental amethyst) is seldom as fine in color as ordinary amethyst, and never as fine as the best amethyst. It is usually of a redder purple, and by artificial light is almost ruby-like in its color.

Purple spinels are singly refracting, and lack dichroism, and hence lack variety of color. Almandine garnets also show no dichroism and lack variety of color. The garnets are, as a rule, apt to be more dense in color than the spinels.

Purple spodumene (kunzite) is pinkish to lilac in shade--usually pale, unless in large masses, and it shows very marked dichroism. A yellowish cast of color may be seen in certain directions in it also, which will aid in distinguishing it from other purple stones.


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