Spotlight on February’s Birthstone: Amethyst

Amethyst is the classic purple gem, a stone with a long history that starts with its prized status since ancient times. Associated with both royalty and with religious uses in both Eastern and Western faiths, amethyst was quite rare and therefore quite expensive until the 18th century, when it cost as much as diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. Then the discovery of massive deposits of amethysts in Brazil brought the price down dramatically. For those with February birthdays, this means that owning a beautiful example of their birthstone is an affordable proposition.

Spotlight on February's Birthstone Amethyst

Amethyst’s use in many cultures has given rise to extensive legends and lore. In fact, its name comes from the Greek word “amethystos,” which means not drunk, referring to the ancient Greek belief that the stone would protect its wearer from becoming intoxicated. Amethysts also became associated with royalty due to their hue—purple cloth was once outrageously expensive to produce, due to the scarcity of the dye-producing materials for that color, and so was worn only by royalty, who were the only ones who could afford it. Thus purple amethyst became associated with royalty as well, and can still be found in the crown jewel collections of many royal families today.

300.00ctw Amethyst Parcel

Even though it is now more readily available than in antiquity, amethyst is still the most prized variety of quartz gem. With a Mohs hardness of 7, it is a relatively scratch-resistant stone suitable for use in all kinds of jewelry. Amethyst is found in South America, North America, Asia, Africa, and Europe.

The single greatest factor in determining the value of an amethyst is its color. Amethyst frequently displays color zoning, which means that areas of a single stone may display different intensity of color. A stone with noticeable color zoning will be less valuable than a stone with consistent color throughout. Also, a stone with a strong purple or reddish-purple hue will be more valuable than a lighter-hued stone, as long as the color is not too dark. Exceptionally dark amethysts can lose some of their brightness, and even appear black in low light.

10.00ct Amethyst and 0.40ctw Sapphire Pendant Necklace

Faceted amethysts can almost always be found without eye-visible inclusions; such inclusions tend to reduce the value of the stone, unless the color is exceptionally superior. Amethysts with good color but which have many inclusions are usually cut as cabochons or beads. Amethysts are routinely cut into calibrated sizes and into all kinds of standard shapes. Its price does not rise dramatically as its carat size increases, which makes it a popular choice for a piece of jewelry with a large center stone.

If you’re looking to add amethyst to your jewelry wardrobe, your budget will go further at Auction King. Our convenient online format gives you the experience of participating in a live auction from the comfort of your own home (or on the go, if you download our app). With bids starting as low as $1, you can find extraordinary deals on amethyst pendants, necklaces, rings, and more. Sign up for a free online account today to get started.

The Easy Way to Do Good: Hosting a Live Online Charity Auction on Auction King

Whether they are supporting a local animal shelter or providing fresh water to underprivileged communities in foreign countries, nonprofits large and small all face the same challenge—how to raise the funds to continue their mission. Donors can tune out repeated appeals for direct donations over time, which makes it crucial to come up with alternative ways to both raise money and engage your donor community at the same time.

Hosting a Live Online Charity Auction on Auction King

Charity auctions are an exciting way to get your supporters involved, but historically they’ve had limitations. In the past, to hold an auction, you’d usually have to host an event, which could be an expensive proposition in its own right, and gather the items to auction off, which is both time-consuming and difficult. After all of that, your auction participants would be limited to people who were able to attend in person, leaving out anybody who didn’t live in your area or who had a scheduling conflict.

Thankfully, technology has offered a solution to the limitations of an in-person auction. Online auctions now allow charities to reach out to more of their supporters through the internet, giving them an opportunity to bid that they might have missed out on before. However, many such auctions only offer the online equivalent of a silent auction, where attendees bid on an item by writing their name down on a bid sheet with a competing bid for a set period of time. These are easier to run, because they don’t require a skilled auctioneer conducting the bidding, but they tend to have a lower rate of return than a live auction. And they still require your organization to provide whatever is to be auctioned off, which can be a strain for volunteers and staff alike.

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Now, Auction King gives your charity the easiest and best possible way to host a charity auction—a live auction in an online format, where we provide the high-quality items known to produce the best returns at auction, and which are often the hardest for nonprofits to get donated. Our experienced auctioneers heighten the excitement to encourage your supporters to bid more often. The competition of head-to-head bidding also tends to inspire bidders to bid higher, netting you more for your charity. You collect a percentage on all items sold.

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When you work with Auction King to host your charity auction, we set up a dedicated URL for you to direct supporters to your auction. We can also help you send an email blast out to let your donors know about your event. Our secure, easy-to-use proprietary bidding platform makes it convenient for your supporters to participate with confidence from wherever they are. Most importantly, our experienced live auctioneers run your auction from start to finish, using their expertise to keep the bidding lively, fun, and lucrative for your nonprofit.

Our goal is to give our charity auction clients the same superior customer service and satisfying live-auction experience that we provide for all of our customers. If your organization is interested in hosting a live online auction with Auction King, contact us today with your information and preferred date. We look forward to helping your nonprofit meet its goals.

What is Morganite?

Discovered in 1910, morganite is a relatively new addition to the ranks of precious gems you’re likely to find offered at a jewelry store. Like other recently discovered stones, morganite’s qualities are less well known than that of popular gems like opals, rubies, or topaz. However, it is only a matter of time before morganite’s reputation as a lovely and durable stone grows.

What is Morganite | Auction King

Morganite is a rare pink variety of the mineral beryl, the same mineral as emerald and aquamarine. It was originally called “pink beryl,” but George F. Kunz, a gemologist and buyer for Tiffany & Co., renamed it “morganite” in 1911 in honor of J. Pierpont Morgan, the famous American banker, who was also a noted gemstone collector. Today the principal source of morganite is Brazil, although deposits have also been found in Afghanistan, China, Mozambique, Namibia, Russia, Zimbabwe, California, and Maine. Some of the finest morganite comes from Madagascar, one of the first places it was discovered.

Morganite is distinguished by its color, which can range from pale pink to light salmon. Gemologists believe that its color comes from trace amounts of cesium or manganese in its makeup. Most morganites are very pale; the strongest colors are exhibited in larger stones. The stone has a 7.5 to 8 on the Mohs scale of hardness, like other beryls, which makes it durable enough to use in all kinds of jewelry. (There’s even a growing trend to use a morganite center stone in engagement rings as an alternative to diamonds, although if you are particularly hard on your hands you may want to consider if it is tough enough for daily wear.)

Morganite and Diamond Ring

Unlike emerald, morganite tends to have few eye-visible inclusions. Morganite crystals can also grow quite large, which makes it is easier to cut large faceted stones. The pink and rose varieties of morganite have tended to be more popular than those with a more salmon or peach tint. Morganites may be heat-treated to reduce any orange or yellow tinge. This treatment is undetectable and permanent, resulting in a stable color that will not fade.

14.26ct Morganite and 0.92ctw Diamond Ring

When you are judging a morganite for quality, color is the most important factor. Larger sizes tend to show deeper color, and thus are likely to be more valuable than smaller, paler stones. Morganite displays pleochroism, meaning that the shade can vary depending on the angle from which it is viewed, so it is important that the cut of the stone be oriented correctly to enhance the brilliance and hue. The presence of large or numerous inclusions can reduce morganite’s value; morganites with many inclusions may be cut as cabochons or carved into fancy designer cuts.

While morganite is relatively affordable at the moment, it is likely that prices for this rare stone will rise as its qualities become better known. Auction King offers beautiful examples of morganite rings, pendants, and loose stones at the best possible value for its bidders, with starting bids as low as $1. Sign up for a free online account today and discover the opportunities in store.