The World of Colored Gems

By Gleim the Jeweler

The jeweler allows me to wear the sapphire blue lake on my finger, emerald green leaves around my neck, and take the citrine sunset with me wherever I go. Jewelry has become my daytime link to nature in an office with no windows. And if I have to work late, there’s nothing like diamond stars and a pearl full moon against an onyx night sky.

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“Gossip” emerald cut three stone rings by Goshwara.

This wonderful quotation, by author Astrid Alauda, perfectly expresses the emotional connection that has been provided by colored gemstones for thousands of years.

Fine colored gemstones have been revered throughout history. Gemstones have been imbued with the power to foretell events, strengthen memory, quicken intelligence, ensure purity, avert lightning, prevent intoxication, ensure happiness and are often equated to the fountain of youth.

What Defines a Colored Gemstone?

Colored gemstones are described as all the various gemstones except for diamonds. Only a select few of the vast number of minerals known qualify as gemstones. In order to become a gemstone, the mineral must be rare and beautiful and be durable enough to be worn as jewelry.

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Blue sapphire ring by AG Gems.

Precious vs. Semi-Precious Gems?

In the past, the term “precious” was used to describe diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire. The term “semi-precious” referred to all other gemstones. Today, most jewelers and gemologists agree that these terms no longer accurately reflect the true value of these gems. In particular, some species of colored gems, such as alexandrite or demantoid garnet, are so rare that they have been known to command prices exceeding those of emerald, ruby, and even diamonds.

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Alexandrite and diamond pendant by Omi Privé.

Gemstones generally can be grouped into three major clarity categories:

  1. Gems that are flawless or have very minor inclusions (e.g. aquamarines and amethysts)
  2. Gems that are moderately included (e.g. rubies and sapphires)
  3. Gems that tend to be highly included (e.g. emeralds and red tourmalines)

Color is the single most important deciding factor in determining the value of a gemstone, followed by the cut. The cut of a gemstone is designed to bring out the best possible color or colors in the rough uncut material while retaining as much weight as possible. The color in a fine gem is saturated evenly throughout the stone and is of a brilliant deep, rich, and pleasing color—not too dark and not too light.

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Indicolite earrings by Erica Courtney.

Each variety of colored gemstone has a range of highly prized colors that have evolved over the years. Many of these colors are tied to historical sources such as “Burmese” rubies from Burma, “Kashmir” sapphires from India, and “Persian” turquoise. This is by no means a sure bet. Not all rubies from Burma have the “Burmese” signature color and furthermore, you may find a fine color from a ruby that was mined in Thailand.

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Cushion cut Mozambican Ruby ring by Real Gems Inc.

Ultimately the wearer decides what color speaks to them, keeping in mind that this may not be that color defined as being the most valuable. Since we all perceive color differently it’s ultimately a very personal choice.

Today, with the ever-increasing advances in gemstone enhancements and synthetic gemstone production, it is more important than ever to work with a reputable and properly trained jeweler.

About Gleim the Jeweler

We have been serving the Peninsula since 1931 and have been members of the American Gem Society (AGS) since 1954. Our membership with the AGS assures you that we earn and maintain the education necessary to provide you with the most up to date information about gems and their different markets.

We also have American Gem Society Accredited Gem Laboratories, assuring you that we have the proper instruments to identify and grade gems. And, what’s perhaps most important, we love colored gems!

AGS Member Spotlight: ASBA USA, Inc.

ASBA USA, Inc. is a prime supplier of Tahitian cultured pearls and finished diamond, colored stone, and cultured pearl jewelry.

For over 25 years, ASBA USA has been owned and operated by the Israileff family and are long-time members of the American Gem Society. Joshua, Nathan, and Nicolai Israileff carry on their family’s tradition of providing fine quality jewelry.

The following images are just a mere sampling of the artistic, whimsical, and one-of-a-kind designs ASBA USA creates with pearls—their specialty—or a variety of gemstones.

 

If you’d like to see more designs by ASBA USA in person, contact a credentialed AGS jeweler near you.

The 2017 Pantone Color of the Year is…

By Isabelle Corvin, CG, Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers

Greenery!

It has been some time since a green hue has been chosen as the color of the year, and this version—a bright shade with just a hint of yellow—is a refreshing color indeed!

pantone-greeneryPantone says it was chosen as a symbolic color of new beginnings and renewal, a calming hue to soothe and relax, and a call to reconnect with the world around us. Indeed, Greenery reminds us of nature, and few things calm like plants and animals.

The color will be coming to the forefront of all things fashionable this year; clothes, interior décor and of course, jewelry.

Gems that embody this color are reviving peridot, versatile tourmaline, vibrant tsavorite garnet and of course, comforting emerald. In fact, emeralds have been a symbol of renewal and growth for ages, as well as wealth and status.

Alternately, peridot is considered the gem of the sun, while garnets and tourmalines have many meanings and supposed health benefits.

Certainly, all gems that match this sublime “Greenery” represent nature at its finest.

The color green, at its scientific core, is a color between blue and yellow, a mixture of those two opposing colors, if you will. The word, “green”, is thought to be derived from Middle English or possibly Germanic roots, most likely meaning, “grass” or “roots.”

In many cultures and languages, green and blue often have similar names associated with the color, making it a great transition from last year’s Pantone color of the year, Serenity (a soft blue).

Science has proven that green is restful on the eyes, balancing to emotions and also helps combat fatigue.

Green is surprisingly hard to “copy” from nature’s mix to create pigments and dyes, including food coloring. Older methods included finely powdered malachite, another gemstone, to create stains.

Historically, green has an interesting history; in more arid locations, the color was one of hope for things to come and rebirth. The Egyptians used the color often, even going so far as to characterize some of their deities with green skin.

The Greeks weren’t overly fond of the color and rarely used it in artistic purists. The Romans, however, linked the color to their goddess, Venus, who was the goddess of love and nature, thus making the color more romantic.

During the Renaissance, where clothing colors denoted social status and occupation, green tones were worn primarily by merchants and bankers. It was a featured clothing color in many famous paintings of the era, including Mona Lisa, who wears a shade of darker, muted green.

The Masonic orders use green to symbolize immortality of all that is divine and true. Since the natural aspect of the color is unchanging, it is considered an immutable color.

In terms of jewelry, green was a popular color in both the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras. In the former, it was used for accents of sweeping, nature-inspired designs that dominated the movement.

In the latter it was often used as a striking aside to other colors, using the bolder, darker hues of the color rather than the light and airy versions.

Greenery may seem like an odd choice…until the plants bloom once more. As spring hits, sooner rather than later, green becomes the prominent color we see. It is a surprisingly balanced color, managing to be both soft and bold. It is a romantic color, when you think about it, and invokes emotions when seen.

We all need a connection to nature in some form, and Greenery gives us that connection with our most obvious sense, sight.

And when it is seen, it is felt.

To see green colors is to feel them, and to wear a gemstone that holds such a deep tie to the world around us grounds us, makes us feel.

Wearing green jewelry is sure to help you feel at peace throughout your day. Who doesn’t need to feel relaxed during hectic and overfull days?

Embrace a green gemstone, make it your own and begin to enjoy 2017’s color, Greenery!

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Isabelle Corvin is an AGS Certified Gemologist (CG) who is the Staff Gemologist at Panowicz Jewelers. Since she was 14-years-old, she knew she wanted to be a gemologist. Ms. Corvin also writes for Panowicz Jewelers’ blog.

Five Trends to Look for at the 2017 Oscars

If you haven’t already, be sure to mark your calendar for this Sunday, February 26, so you don’t miss the 89th Academy Awards! Millions of film and fashion fans will be tuning into ABC at 7:00 p.m. EST/4:00 p.m. PST when the stars begin to walk the red carpet.

What will this year’s fab fashions be? Here’s a list of five trends that are predicted to be “scene” on the stars. We’ve included a few designs from AGS members that we think would best complement these lovely looks.

Flowers and Nature

Floral designs never seem to go out of style and with spring just around the corner, what better place to display some flower power than at the Oscars! They can either be classic and demure or big, bold, and bright! With the growing trend of floral patterns, other nods to nature are sure to follow. Animals, birds, and leafy plants are leaving a trail on this season’s designs.

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Sapphire, white and brown diamonds flower ring by Supreme Jewelry.

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Flexible diamond tiger cuff
by Roberto Coin.

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Cobra drop earrings with diamonds
by John Hardy.

Pink

Here’s a hue that has been popular of late. When it comes to pink gemstones, we can choose from pink diamonds, pink sapphire, Morganite, kunzite, and rose quartz, to name a few! Which gal—or guy—will be thinking pink on the red carpet?

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Fancy light purplish pink heart shape diamond necklace by Scott West Diamonds.

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Fancy pink diamond ring by
Jeffrey Daniels Unique Designs.

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Pink sapphire flower cluster diamond earrings and pendant by Whiteflash.

One Shoulder

The elegant drape of a one-shoulder dress or top embodies a mix of sophistication and sultriness. An ensemble like this should be punctuated by some serious sparkle!

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Diamond Angel Feather ring
by KC Designs.

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The Helen necklace by Harry Kotlar.

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White Kites Bird long earrings
by HOF X Stephen Webster.

Satin

Reminiscent of old Hollywood, satin is one of the biggest trends this spring. Expect to see the silky-smooth and shimmering fabric in bright jewel tones. Enhance the look with gorgeous jewels like these!

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Trillion cut Tanzanite and diamond earrings
by AG Gems.

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A two-tone gold necklace featuring rose-cut emeralds and diamonds by Yael Designs.

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Paraiba tourmaline and diamond ring by Takat.

Color Blocks

Gone are the days of drab black and gray. Enter the brilliant and daring blocks of color! Bold and beautiful gemstones make these jewelry designs absolute showstoppers.

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“Amazon” pendant featuring peridot accented by purple garnet and diamonds by Erica Courtney.

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“Gossip” emerald cut citrine earrings with diamonds by Goshwara.

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Rhodolite and spessartite garnet ring
by Omi Prive.

Shopping for fine jewelry should be just as exciting as the Oscars but without unwelcome surprises. American Gem Society (AGS) credentialed jewelers adhere to standards that not only comply with governing laws, but that go beyond, to ensure that you are buying from jewelers who have the knowledge and skill to help you make the most informed buying decision. To find an AGS jeweler near you, click here, and leave the nail-biting uncertainty for the Oscars!

October’s Birthstones are Bursting with Color

octoberbirthstonesOctober features two incredible birthstones: opal and tourmaline. They each display an exciting and intense array of colors, making them popular choices for jewelry designers and collectors.

Opal

The name “opal” derives from the Greek Opallos, meaning “to see a change (of color).” They range in color from milky white to black with flashes of yellow, orange, green, red, and blue. An opal’s beauty is the product of contrast between its color play and its background.

Opal is a formation of non-crystalline silica gel that seeped into crevices in the sedimentary strata. Through time and nature’s heating and molding processes, the gel hardened into the form of opals. The opal is composed of particles closely packed in spherical arrangements. When packed together in a regular pattern, a three-dimensional array of spaces is created that gives opal its radiance.

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s precious opal comes from Australia. The following are other countries that produce precious or fancy varieties: Brazil, Mexico, United States, Hungary, Peru, Indonesia, Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Slovakia, Czech Republic, and Ethiopia.

Like fingerprints, each opal is totally unique! To get a really good look at the opals in these designs, click on the images below for a larger view.

Lightning Ridge Collection

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Blue-green black opal accented by fine white princess cut diamonds and round brilliant cut diamonds.

 

Lika Behar Collection

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Sterling silver and 24k gold “Ocean” necklace, featuring a one-of-a-kind boulder opal framed by diamonds.

 

Parlé

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Australian black opal and diamond earrings set in 18k yellow gold.

 

Yael Designs

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An 18k rose gold bracelet featuring rose cut fire opals and brilliant cut white round diamonds.

 

Tourmaline

Since tourmaline is available in a wide variety of colors, it is ideally suited to almost anyone’s taste. It is known for displaying several colors in the same gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations; the gemstones with clear color distinctions are highly prized.

One multi-color variety is known as watermelon tourmaline and features green, pink, and white colors bands. To resemble its namesake, the gemstone is cut into thin slices having a pink center, white ring, and green edge.

Tourmaline is found in many localities including Brazil, Afghanistan, East Africa, and the USA.

The following designs feature the varying hues of tourmaline. Click on the images to see a larger view.

 

Erica Courtney

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“Rain Drop” 18k yellow gold studs featuring
Paraíba tourmaline accented with diamonds.

 

Supreme Jewelry

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This unique ring displays a butterfly fluttering around petals of  sliced tourmaline, framed by diamonds.

 

Omi Privé

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A cushion cut pink tourmaline and diamonds are set in platinum and 18k rose gold.

 

Crevoshay

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“California Dreaming” is an 18k gold pendant artfully displaying the many colors and varieties of tourmaline.

On behalf of everyone at AGS, we send our best wishes to those celebrating a birthday or anniversary in the month of October!

If you are shopping for opal or tourmaline jewelry, search for an AGS credentialed jeweler near you: www.americangemsociety.org/en/find-a-jeweler.

 

Erica Courtney’s Tucson Gem Show Tour

By Randi Molofsky

EC_Aug_headshotEach winter jewelry designers, stone dealers and rock hunters head to the desert for the world’s largest gem and mineral show. From teeny-tiny precious gems that go for tens of thousands a carat to massive geodes that have to be trucked in, the annual fair in Tucson, AZ, is a favorite of fine jewelry designers like Los Angeles-based Erica Courtney.

Although she regularly travels the globe in search of spectacular colored gems for her signature Drop Dead Gorgeous collection—recent trips include Tanzania and Hong Kong—it’s this pilgrimage to the Southwest that holds a special place in her heart.

“It’s just paradise for us,” Erica explains. “We get to see all these types of amazing gemstones, plus we get to meet new people in the industry. What could be better than networking and keeping ourselves updated with the latest gemstones?”

Below, Erica shares her three favorite gemstone finds from the show, and why exactly she’ll be bringing them home to use in upcoming collections.

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Tourmaline

Tourmaline: Tourmaline has a bunch of different colorations, and we were loving them because we saw a lot of new and exciting colors. Some of them can be so bright and beautiful, it’s so hard to resist. Plus, the clarity of tourmalines is always exquisite.

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Csarite

Csarite: Csarite is just such an interesting stone—did you know it’s only found in one place in the world, in the remote Turkish Anatolian mountains? Everyone loves the way the stone changes color from from kiwi greens in sunlight to raspberry purplish-pinks in candlelight; as well as the dispersion on the stone. It’s just so unique!

Purple Garnets: Purple garnets were also one the highlights of the show, they had such a saturated and vivid coloration—I have never seen such beautiful garnets! So different and super sparkly, just a shade different from amethyst. Gorgeous!

One look at Erica’s designs and you’ll understand why colored gemstones are so important for inspiration. Here are three brand new pieces by Erica Courtney with her signature detailed settings and bold color.

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18K yellow gold “Sayeda” ring featuring a 5.49ct spinel, accented with 1.26ctw Rubelite Tourmaline and 1.21ctw diamonds.

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18K yellow gold “Crossover” ring featuring a 7.42ct mint tourmaline, accented with two 0.47ctw opals on the sides and 1.09ctw diamonds.

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18K yellow gold “Cigar Band” ring featuring a 2.10ct paraiba tourmaline cabochon, accented with 0.22ctw paraiba tourmaline and 0.65ctw diamonds.

Rare, Precious and Ready for Primetime: Paraiba Tourmaline

By Randi Molofsky

ParaibaTourmalines are getting a lot of love recently–from the bold red rubellite to the beguiling teal blue/green indicolite–but no variety is more coveted than the nearly neon Paraiba. Named after the northeastern state of Brazil where they were first found, they are instantly recognizable by its electric glow of bright blue/green (attributed to small amounts of copper in its chemical composition), these gems are rare and expensive (often costing 5 figures per carat).

So, the question is: why exactly are Paraibas so pricey? For the answer, we’ll have to look at the history, provenance and availability of these spectacular stones.

Discovered just 27 years ago in Paraiba, Brazil by a miner named Heitor Dimas Barbosa, this gemstone is notoriously difficult to excavate. Mined by hand to avoid damaging the crystals, Paraibas in the rough are found in pencil-thin veins deep below the earth’s surface in very small sizes. Although, a bit of good news: since its discovery, chemically similar (or in cases, identical) tourmalines have been found in Mozambique and Nigeria in larger sizes, making it a bit easier to own.

Celebrities are now getting in on the action, too. Julianne Moore, one of our best dressed of the Golden Globes, paired her blue Tom Ford gown with a Chopard High Jewelry ring featuring 18.32 carats of Paraiba tourmalines and 2.98 carats of diamonds. Covered with pavé Paraibas and set into an eye-catching blue titanium, the ring was one of the most daring on the red carpet.

JulianneMooreIf you’re dreaming of your own gorgeous piece of Paraiba jewelry, look no further than New York-based Suna Bros. Making jewelry in the U.S. for 80 years, this family business has a knack for choosing investment-worthy stones for each hand-set creation. From a pear-shaped Paraiba perfect as an alternative engagement ring to fashion-forward silhouettes in yellow gold or with eye-catching diamond accents, the sky’s the limit.

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