As we change our calendars to September, our sights are set on cooler weather, and on sapphires!
Sapphires are known for their beautiful blue hue, but they can also be found in a variety of pinks, yellows, and oranges, even peach, green, and violet colors. These colors are referred to as fancy sapphire.
One of the most sought-after fancy sapphires is the padparadscha. Its pink-orange coloration can be compared to that of a tropical sunset. Princess Eugenie, a cousin to Princes William and Harry, received an oval cut padparadscha sapphire ring for her engagement, bringing this rare gemstone into the limelight.
Padparadscha sapphire and diamond ring by Omi Privé. This ring is the AGTA 2018 Spectrum Award Winner.
Sapphires can also display the celestial-like optical phenomena, asterism, adding the name “star” to this type of sapphire.
Pink star sapphire cut en cabochon, by Suna Bros.
September babies are lucky to have a birthstone that comes in a variety of colors! Below are a few images from American Gem Society (AGS) members that showcase the chromatically-gifted sapphire. To find an AGS-credentialed jeweler near you, click here!
Blue sapphire and diamond ring, by Joshua J. Fine Jewelry.
Multi-colored sapphire and diamond necklace, by Kaufmann de Suisse.
Classique violet sapphire and diamond ring, by Coffin and Trout.
Pear shape orange sapphire and diamond ring, by Supreme Jewelry.
Oval pink sapphire and diamond ring, by Jeffery Daniels Unique Designs.
Round, blue sapphire bracelet, by Uneek Fine Jewelry.
Emerald cut green sapphire and diamond ring, by JB Star.
Historically speaking, March is an unusual month. It’s a time of transition, from winter blues to the summertime blue of swimming pools. It’s a windy month, too, and the weather can be fickle as one day is cold and the next is warm. It’s supposed to be the first month of spring, but sometimes it feels like the final month of winter.
Even literature has a conflicted relationship with the month. Shakespeare warned Caesar to “Beware the ides of March” in his eponymous play, “Julius Caesar.”
Despite the ups and downs of March, there is one bright, shining and beautiful factor. Aquamarine.
It’s a word which evokes the sea.
Beautiful aquamarine gems. Courtesy of Suna Bros.
Aquamarine is most often light in tone and ranges from greenish blue to blue-green; the color usually is more intense in larger stones, and darker blue stones are very valuable. This gemstone is mined mainly in Brazil but also is found in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
Aquamarine and diamond ring from Suna Bros.
Like emeralds, this gemstone is a variety of a mineral called beryl. Large stones have been found all over the world, including one stone found in Brazil that weighed over 240 pounds. Aquamarine grows in large, six-sided crystals that can be up to a foot long, making it a great gem to be cut and polished in larger carats for statement pieces.
Not only is aquamarine one of the March birthstones, it’s also used to celebrate 19th wedding anniversaries. It’s a beautiful stone with little or no yellow in it, so it looks great in many settings with different colored metals and gemstones.
Opal pendant surrounded by aquamarine and diamonds. From Yael Designs.
First, visit an AGS jeweler, who will be happy to help you pick out the perfect piece. Next, look at the stone’s cut. Since aquamarine can be very lightly colored (and sometimes appear almost colorless), the cut is very important to the overall appearance of the stone and how saturated, or even, the color appears.
Of course, choose the color that most appeals to you, however, it’s generally accepted that lighter colored aquamarines are less valuable than the stronger, deeper hues of blue or blue-green.
Aquamarine and diamonds in a gold setting. From Erica Courtney Jewelry
Next, take a look at the stone’s clarity. Most cut gems do not have inclusions that are visible to the eye, and some rarer or more expensive aquamarines are available without visible inclusions, as well.
Since aquamarine crystals can grow to be quite large, larger cut gemstones are possible to purchase as a part of beautiful statement pieces. While you may not be looking to buy in that range, even smaller aquamarines make for lovely solitaires or companion jewels in larger pieces.
Ready to see aquamarine up-close and in person? Find an AGS Jewler here. Just don’t forget to bring your jacket. . . or not. It’s March, after all. Who knows what the weather will be like?
There are several varieties of gemstones that display optical phenomena, which describes the many ways light interacts with the structural features or inclusions (internal characteristics) in the gemstone. Often these gemstones will be fashioned in a particular way that best displays these effects.
The science of optical phenomena can be fascinating, although the mystery and allure of these effects are what initially attract us! In this article, we’ll discuss six of the most familiar (and magical) displays of optical phenomena in gemstones.
Adularescence is the phenomena typically seen in moonstone, which is a member of the feldspar family. It produces a billowy soft blue to milky white light that appears to move across the gemstone. This occurs when light hits the alternating layers of albite and orthoclase, which are two differing forms of feldspar within the gem.
The layers of feldspar interfere with the light rays causing them to scatter and the eye to observe adularescence. The effect is best seen when the gemstone is cut en cabochon [en CAB-ah-shawn]—that is, with a polished, domed top and a flat or slightly rounded base.
Burmese moonstone ring by Michael Schofield & Co.
Moonstone and diamond ring by United Color Gems.
Asterism, or stars, relates to the four- or six-rayed star pattern of light produced by the fibrous inclusions, elongated needles, or growth tubes in a gemstone. This singular, celestial-like phenomenon is best seen in a gemstone cut en cabochon.
Blue star sapphire by Suna Bros.
Pink star sapphire by Suna Bros.
Chatoyancy [sha-TOY-an-cee] is also known as “cat’s eye.” Fine needle-like or fibrous inclusions within the gemstone are what causes this effect. Again, stones fashioned as cabochons display this effect the best.
Tiger Eye and diamond ring displaying chatoyancy by NEI Group
Cat’s Eye indicolite tourmaline and rubellite ring by AG Gems.
A small number of gemstones display the color change optical phenomena. Depending on the lighting environment, the color change appearance can vary due to the shifting wavelengths. The technical term for this is photochromism or photochroism; “color-change” is a lot easier to say!
The best-known color changing gemstone is alexandrite. When viewed in sunlight, it appears greenish. When placed under incandescent light, it appears reddish. Other varieties of color-changing gemstones include sapphire, garnet, spinel, diaspore, and tourmaline.
Alexandrite cats’ eye framed by alexandrite and diamond ring by Omi Prive.
Alexandrite and diamond ring by Takat.
Labradorscence [lab-ra-dor-es-cence] is an optical characteristic often seen in labradorite. The effect is a spectacular play-of-color that is metallic or iridescent, displaying blue, green, red, orange, and yellow. This is an interference effect within the gemstone caused by internal structures that selectively reflect only certain colors.
Labradorite ring by Lika Behar Collection.
Labradorite pendant by Lika Behar Collection.
Play-of-color is created by a combination of diffraction and interference and is the result of the microstructure of opal: the chameleon of a thousand colors!
Opals are made up of many layers of small, stacked spheres of silica. These spheres diffract light, splitting it into a spectrum of colors. The layers of these spheres create interference allowing certain colors to dominate, depending on the angle the opal is viewed.
Black opal and diamond ring from Lightning Ridge Collection by John Ford.
As we turn our calendars to September, we start thinking of things like heading back to school, indulging in a pumpkin spice latte, and planning our fall fashions. For those celebrating a birthday in September, they’re thinking of their birthstone: the sapphire!
Although sapphire typically refers to the rich blue gemstone variety of the mineral corundum, this royal gem actually occurs in a rainbow of hues. Sapphires come in every color except red, which would then be classified as ruby.
Trace elements like iron, titanium, chromium, copper and magnesium give naturally colorless corundum a tint of blue, yellow, purple, orange or green, respectively. Sapphires in any color but blue are called “fancies.”
Pink sapphires, in particular, tow a fine line between ruby and sapphire. In the U.S., these gems must meet a minimum color saturation to be considered rubies. Pinkish orange sapphires called padparadscha (from the Sri Lankan word for “lotus flower”) can actually draw higher prices than some blue sapphires.
Due to the remarkable hardness of sapphires—which measure 9 on the Mohs scale, second only to diamond—they aren’t just valuable in jewelry, but also in industrial applications including scientific instruments, high-durability windows, watches, and electronics.
Sapphires make stunning gifts for anyone born in September or celebrating a 5th or 45th wedding anniversary, so be sure to visit an AGS jeweler. They will help you find that perfect gift, whether you’re seeking the classic blue or another shade from the sapphire rainbow.
Need some inspiration? View this collection of designs featuring the sapphire!
When investing in a piece of fine jewelry, there’s no better choice than a brand with long, distinguished heritage that is known for exemplary craftsmanship and customer service. Enter New York-based Suna Bros., jewelers that do classics better than anyone else in a variety of styles featuring exceptional diamonds and colored gemstones. We spoke to Danielle Barber, Suna’s Director of Creative and Marketing, to find out why its collections, all made in New York City, are still so coveted after more than eight decades.
Suna Bros. has an over 80-year tradition and is a family business, how does that play into the day-to-day workings of the company?
Both Aron and Jonathan Suna are dedicated to the success of Suna Bros. They are involved, truly involved, in every facet of daily business. They’re in early, stay late and work in manufacturing, customer service, design, stone buying etc. Since every Suna piece is crafted in the workshop in our NYC headquarters, they’re often working with our master jewelers or discussing new styles with our designer. They’re also always accessible to Suna retailers, many whom have had long-standing relationships with them, and they’ll work directly with our clients on special orders or requests. It’s inspiring to see such a level of pride and dedication.
Suna is exceptionally great at creating classic, timeless settings. What are some of the most popular styles that the company makes today?
Aron and Jonathan’s father, Kenneth, started Suna Bros. specializing in finely made channel-set wedding bands. Created with that original, old-world aesthetic, these bands remain popular today. The quality is unrivaled: each is individually crafted from start to finish with beautifully hand-cut azures and hand-set diamonds. Classics! Our platinum and pavé diamond styles are perennial favorites as well, especially one ring in particular with 2.20cts. of diamonds.
You must have a great jewelry archive! Are there any specific pieces that have been made for many years?
Absolutely, but one piece in particular comes to mind: the Suna starfish. For over 40 years, our small pavé starfish pin has rode the wave of top selling items. It’s become a Suna icon. We’ve since added complementary larger and smaller pins, pendants and earrings, but the entire starfish collection is based on that one piece.
Big, rich colored gemstones are back and more popular than ever. Which are you loving right now?
We are loving color! The Suna spectrum has been shining with all kinds of gems. We’re especially enamored with tourmaline and its amazing palette. We love them all: paraiba, African paraiba-types, rubellites, greens and incredible pinkish peach hues. It’s impossible to choose a favorite.
Tell us about your Couture collection – is there a recent piece or one that’s being made that you can share with us?
We’re building more and more upon our color collection of one-of-a-kind styles. One gem in particular stands out: a gorgeous 12-plus carat cushion-shaped, African paraiba-type tourmaline. It is a magnificent gem. We’re hoping to finish a ring by the end of May, just in time for Couture, the most exclusive U.S. fine jewelry trade show of the year that takes place in Las Vegas!
The aquamarine gemstone is a member of the beryl family—same as the emerald—and its colors can range in tones from colorless pale blue, to blue green or teal. The larger the stone, the more intense the color. The most valuable gemstones come from Brazil, but is also mined in Nigeria, Madagascar, Zambia, Pakistan, and Mozambique.
This gemstone was believed to protect sailors, guaranteeing a safe voyage ahead. It is said its serene colors can cool the temper, allowing the wearer to be calm and levelheaded. This leads to heightened awareness, better communication, and the ability to retort with a quick response.
The healing powers associated with the aquamarine gemstone are believed to cure ailments of the liver, jaws, stomach and throat. The transparent aquamarine was once used to make eyeglasses and lenses.
Now that you know a little more about these brilliant blue beauties, here are a few exquisite examples of how designers showcase the gorgeous gem.
An 18K white gold stunner by AG Gems, with an 9.59 carat aquamarine flanked by blue sapphires, accented by diamonds.
Aquamarine and diamond pendant, a new addition to Jye’s International Inc. Luxury Collection.
Elegant dangle earrings by Spark Creations, featuring aquamarine and diamonds.
A glistening collection of aquamarine favorites by SUNA Bros.
A diamond swan and garnets frame a soothing, 75.59 carat aquamarine. The Swan Lake pendant by Yael Designs.