Bespoke jewellery lends itself to being creative with stone choice. Whilst pure diamond jewellery draws attention in it’s simplicity and sparkle, gemstone set jewellery demands attention with it’s individuality, flare and eye-catching pigmentation.
Gemstones come in variety; from rich reds, electric blues, greens and purples, to even bi-coloured stones. Unsurprisingly, the most important grading factor to consider when choosing a gemstone is colour. More desirable colours, which generally have a purer ‘hue’, demand a higher price. Natural, untreated stones also achieve higher prices than stones that have been treated with oil or heat to improve their appearance. Unlike diamonds, clarity is not quite as important when grading gemstones as they are nearly always included by nature.
In this blog post I will talk you through the most commonly used and adored coloured gemstones: Sapphires, Rubies and Emeralds.
Sapphires are a beautiful choice of gemstone and work particularly well set alongside diamonds. They are incredibly hard wearing stones, graded as 9 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness (diamonds are graded as 10). They come in a range of colours: from black to colourless and everything in-between. The most famous and widely used sapphire is the blue sapphire. The most expensive and desired shade of this is royal blue – a mid-blue colour (about the shade of a Bic biro!) that has very strong saturation. Fitting to it’s name, Princess Diana wore a royal blue sapphire engagement ring made by Garrards in 1981, which is now elegantly worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.
The colour and variety of sapphires creates versatility. They can take centre stage or be accent diamonds, or they can create an eternity ring with alternating or additional colours to colourless diamonds.
Rubies are rich and luxurious gemstones. They are also part of the sapphire family. Technically, a ruby is a red sapphire. Rubies vary in colour from purplish-reds to pinky-reds. The rarest and most desirable colour (which demands a higher price than any other coloured stone) is described as ‘pigeon blood red’. Cartier’s ‘Sunrise Ruby’ is the worlds most expensive ruby. It weighs 25.59cts and was sold at Sotheby’s for £20.7 million in 2015. Here is some more information about the ring.
Emeralds are fresh and lively gemstones that are part of the Aquamarine stone family. Emeralds are best suited to being set in necklaces, bracelets or earrings as they are fairly brittle stones, however they can be set into a ring as long as the ring is looked after. Adding to their character, emeralds typically have inclusions visible to the naked eye know as their ‘jardin’ (French for garden). Those that are eye clean are very rare and therefore more expensive. An emerald’s appearance is often enhanced by being treated with oil, which is graded from ‘minor’ to ‘significant’.
The two most famous locations for emeralds to be mined are Colombia (most valuable) and Zambia. Both locations give a slightly different tone to the stone. Colombian Emeralds have a warmer hue, where as Zamibian Emeralds have a cooler one.