Amethyst Geode Grading & Pricing
An Insider's Guide
How do you choose an amethyst geode (amethyst cathedral, amethyst church)? By using your intuition or your objective thought? In other words, you choose by answering the question, "What inspires me," OR you consider the two objective, left-brain questions and examples below.
Why? You grade a geode for the same reasons you grade a diamond. Few people choose to buy the highest quality. You want to learn the pricing factors and decide what is important to you.
AMETHYST GEODE OBJECTIVE QUESTION 1
How do I value the amethyst geode (amethyst cathedral, amethyst church) as a whole?
Since most of the surface is crystal, the first three pricing factors are color, color, and color! Darker, deeper amethyst geodes command much higher prices per pound. Alternately, your budget buys more stone if you are happy with colors of medium purple to blue to gray.
If you are drawn to three geodes, ask the seller to send you one photo of the three in the same light. The colors and apparent darkness of amethyst geodes are exquisite, difficult to put into words.
OK, what are other color factors? While continuing to look at the whole amethyst geode, note if the color is even, if the darkest colors spread evenly in each area (each zone). This is a small-to-medium pricing factor. Even colors across the whole surface are more valuable than "color zoning."
In an especially valuable amethyst geode, the color of a given crystal point saturates through the body of that crystal. In other words, the color will not "just" be in the tips of the crystal points. In most geodes though, the body has less color. A colorless area may show near the base of each dark amethyst point. For examples of amethyst geode colors, please click here or or there.
Seemingly contradictory is that streams or lines of white calcite increase the price per pound! Large white, or sometimes orange, calcite crystals also increase the price per pound. During what geologists say are eons of formation, additional minerals have seeped in to the geode to build gorgeous formations.
Click here for photos from an amethyst geode mine.
Inside the amethyst geode, large crystals are more highly prized than small crystals for several reasons. Large crystals took many more eons to form, and conditions had to remain constant. A large fully-saturated crystal is rarer than a small fully-saturated one.
Yet their very "largeness" increases the price of the geode. A geode with large crystals has thick walls. Such walls make that geode heavier than thin-walled geodes of the same height.
This is subtle. A geode wall made up of the bodies of crystal points is understandable ... and valuable. Some geodes though have walls of crystalline material or of other minerals. These may add little to the beauty of the geode, although they add to the weight. The price goes to purchase thick walls outside the beautiful points.
An amethyst geode (amethyst cathedral, amethyst church) with a thin base commands a higher price per pound. The polishing factory adds cement to the bases to protect any crystal area from breaking off and to allow you to stand the geode on end.
Click here to see photos of other steps taken in the factory.
Symmetry and shape are important factors. Most people favor tall, slender geode rocks, shaped like cathedral spires. A geode rock that is extremely bent over is less valued/more easily affordable. Ditto for a round or square geode rock.
The last factor is interesting, but its affect on price per pound is an open question. If you favor amethyst cathedrals (amethyst churches) that are lanky and shallow, you get more height for the weight.
Alternately, you may like stones that have deep caves, depth, a true third dimension.
The second question is, "What if I accidentally dropped the amethyst cathedral (amethyst church) from a third story balcony onto the driveway?"
You would definitely view your "former geode" differently. Take solace that the amethyst pieces are also very valuable as cabinet display pieces or "rough" to be cut for jewelry making.
This amethyst geode (amethyst cathedral, amethyst church) has many qualities for you to value:
Very deep color takes value way up
Color even, crystals saturated so value goes up
Small crystals take value down a little
Medium walls with purple band have neutral effect on value
Thin base takes value up
Symmetry is good and takes value up
Depth is medium so has neutral effect on value
This geode rock can be yours for much less per pound:
Color varies from medium blue to very pale purple taking price way down
Crystals not fully saturated taking price down
Large crystals add interest and power so value goes up
Large walls take price down
Thin base keeps price up
Not-cathedral-spire shape takes price down
Yet the solid-as-a-rock shape gives strength, and the walls have 2 unusual green bands. Please ask, "What inspires me?"
Match your inspiration to your budget by clicking here. Enjoy.
-- Copyright 2006 - 2009 by For the Joy of It