Click here to buy Rose de France Amethyst. ‘Rose de France’ remains one of the most contentious phrases in the gemstone industry. Rose de France is a stunning pink-to-lilac variety of Amethyst, but pinning this colour down has proved a headache for the gem industry. Despite (or perhaps because of) the array of destructive and non-destructive tests available to the multitude of gemmological laboratories that have sprung up around the world, there is more ambiguity regarding what constitutes ‘Rose de France’ Amethyst grade than ever before.
This ambiguity also goes against the prevailing direction being driven by gemmological publications such as Gemguide who have a self-proclaimed “strong belief that misuse of nomenclature is hurting our industry”.
To avoid becoming embroiled in this quickly changing issue, my team here at Gemporia did not bring any Rose de France jewellery to collectors for our first eight years of operating. In 2011, determined to identify a legitimate benchmark against which to define Rose de France Amethyst, Gemporia CEO Steve Bennett asked his son (and my brother-in-law) Matt to enrol at the GIA. Here, at the world’s most prestigious gemmological school and laboratory, we hoped Matt could learn the legitimate benchmark for this gem, and bring this international standard to our team and add this beautiful grade to our gemstone offering.
Amidst a market awash with pale pink Amethyst, usually heavily heated material from Alto Uruguai and even worse, synthetic stones indiscernible from authentic Amethyst crystallised in nature, my team began scouring the world for one of the rarest finds – legitimate Rose de France Amethyst.
The precise colour of Rose de France remains the most difficult element of the stone to source. To maintain the highest international standard, as taught by the GIA, Pink Amethyst simply will not cut it, nor will light tone purple Amethyst. The body colour of the gemstone must have a pink hue, but the key colour (the colour of the brilliance of the stone), must have a lilac or purple hue. Essentially the stone must be dichroic, which is extremely rare in Amethyst.
This phenomenon is due to the unique chemical make-up of this Amethyst. Most Amethyst is coloured by the presence of iron. The greater the quantity of iron, the deeper the tone of the resulting Amethyst. Moroccan Amethyst features such a quantity of iron impurities that some of these iron molecules have even bonded with oxygen to form Haematite within the crystals. For Rose de France Amethyst, the relative proportion of iron molecules must be much lower. In addition to this, several laboratories have, using destructive tests, found that Rose de France from Bolivia has a stronger presence of titanium molecules than usual within their chemical make-up. The molecules are not only an origin tracer, but have also been linked to pleochroism by encouraging the lilac key colours.
In addition to these very specific hues, the gemstone must be exactly 4 on the GIA tone scale. Not 3, not 5, but exactly 4! Whilst the untrained eye may not be able to distinguish the minute colour differences between these tone grades, the team and I always travel with a small selection of master stones from the 3, 4 and 5 tone grades. When studying potential Rose de France parcels at a gem show (such as Hong Kong or Tucson), in Jaipur, or elsewhere in the world, these master stones have been the making or breaking of countless parcels since their inception.
Though Rose de France has become synonymous with a colour, hue and tone, these are not the only hurdles a gemstone parcel must navigate. To be certified a Rose de France stone, the gem must have SI clarity as a minimum standard. This is something we have adopted and gone even further with here at Gemporia; many of the Rose de France stones we have bought are actually VSI clarity, with a select few even boasting VVSI grade – very collectable indeed! Remember that with coloured stones, clarity is measured using the naked eye, not a jewellers’ loupe.
Furthermore, all of these criteria must be hit naturally. Amethyst from Brazil can be treated to appear exactly the same as genuine Rose de France material. Therefore, for this benchmark to be meaningful, Rose de France stones ought to be natural. This is further complicated by the fact that heat treating Amethyst is a global industry, and the effects are often impossible to detect, even under the most exhaustive laboratory tests. How do we navigate around the fact that we can’t in good conscience sell treated Rose de France, and leading laboratories can’t determine whether the Amethyst material has been heated or not?
This is where our unique relationships of trust with the miners pay dividends. Most Rose de France material comes from the Anahi mine (the same mine as Bolivian Ametrine). We happen to have an extraordinary relationship with the owner Ramiro Rivero, forged through numerous mutual friends, including Rob Weldon of the GIA. The second most prominent source of Rose de France is Zambia. Ironically, this is the same mining operation as the extremely saturated and dark Zambian Amethyst material. This operation is dominated by Gemfields, the CEO of which is Ian Harebottle, a long-time friend who has even appeared on our live channel Gems TV in the past. The smallest deposit we stock here at Gemporia comes from mines that surround the town of Ametista do Sul. Three years ago, when we launched this stone, this source was the most prominent source available, but over time the supply from this location has dwindled. Nevertheless, we have maintained our relationship with Silvio Poncio, who owns several of the small mines, always hoping they may hit another seam.
By tirelessly cutting out middlemen, we are able to guarantee the standard of your Rose de France, as well as guarantee our customers incredible value for money. Find your perfectly toned Rose de France Amethyst with us - click here.