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Amethyst

During the 17th and 18th centuries, amethyst continued to be a favored gemstone in the decorative arts, particularly in Europe. Its rich purple color and relative availability made it a popular choice for various ornamental and functional pieces. Here are some ways amethyst was used in the decorative arts during this period:

  1. Jewelry: Amethyst was widely used in jewelry during the 17th and 18th centuries. Rings, necklaces, earrings, brooches, and other accessories featured amethyst gemstones set in gold or silver settings. These pieces often incorporated intricate metalwork and elaborate designs, reflecting the artistic style of the Baroque and Rococo periods.
  2. Snuffboxes and Etuis: Amethyst was a favored gemstone for adorning snuffboxes and etuis. These small, decorative containers held tobacco snuff and personal items such as needles, scissors, and other essentials. Amethyst insets added a touch of luxury to these accessories, which were often carried as status symbols.
  3. Intaglios and Cameos: Amethyst was carved into intaglios and cameos during this time. Intaglios featured an engraved design that created a raised impression when pressed into wax or clay, while cameos had a relief design that stood out from a flat background. These intricately crafted pieces were often used as seals or worn as decorative adornments.
  4. Ornamental Objects: Amethyst was used to create various ornamental objects, such as decorative boxes, snuff containers, and scent bottles. These objects adorned the interiors of wealthy households and were considered valuable collectibles.
  5. Chandeliers and Lighting Fixtures: In grand European palaces and luxurious homes, amethyst crystals were used as decorative elements in chandeliers and other lighting fixtures. The gemstone’s transparency allowed it to reflect and refract light, creating a captivating visual display.
  6. Dress Accessories: Amethyst was occasionally set in dress accessories such as buckles, hairpins, and buttons, adding a touch of elegance to fashionable attire.

The popularity of amethyst in the decorative arts of the 17th and 18th centuries can be attributed to its availability and the appreciation for its deep purple color. During this period, gemstones were highly valued for their rarity and beauty, and amethyst, with its royal purple hue, was a gem of choice for creating exquisite and opulent decorative pieces.

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