From Our Gemologist
The first question we ask ourselves is why? Why have humans throughout millennia coveted diamonds and gemstones. Rarity. Beauty. They come from the earth – they mesmerize us.
You may not realize what the first thing that draws you to a gemstone is… but, the very first impression a gemstone makes on you is its color. How does the color affect you? Color is THE most important aspect of a gemstone. It is the lure.
So, in this vast and wondrous world of gems … We cherish the big three first and foremost; there is nothing more alluring than a Burmese Ruby, Kashmir Sapphire, or Colombian emerald. These are the most compelling triumvirate – and are Red, Green and Blue – the primary colors. They are the most valuable gems on earth.
We also appreciate the rich and varied hues of garnet, the dreamy, watery blue of aquamarine, the depth of tourmaline… there are color tones within these stones that speak to each of us differently.
Andalusite – is one of the few gems where we see more than one color even with the naked eye. When a stone has more than one distinct color it is referred to as pleochroic. Pleo, meaning many, and chroic, meaning color. In the case of Andalusite, we see three different colors when we look at it – yellowish green, brownish green and orangy, reddish brown. These colors evoke the natural world of moss and wood, autumnal hues that are complimented by a warm, yellow gold setting. First discovered in Spain, the stone was named after the region of Andalusia; it has a 7.5 Moh’s hardness so it can handle regular wear and tear – set in 14K or 18K yellow gold, a piece of andalusite jewelry is something special to add to your jewelry box. It is that fantastic accent piece that will have people wondering what it is and where you found it.
Alexandrite – Some might argue that this is the most coveted and yet overlooked rare gem. That could be because it can be hard to find in jewelry stores today. To some it is more magical than even diamond because Alexandrite has an extraordinary feature – it changes color. It is the color change variety of Chrysoberyl. Depending on the light it is viewed in, it changes color. In daylight it appears bluish green and in incandescent light it changes to brownish to purplish-red. Because of the way the stone absorbs light it will look green during the day, and if looked at again, in say candlelight, it will appear red.
Discovered in the 1830s in the Ural Mountains of Russia and named for Czar Alexander II, the stone is found in Sri Lanka, Brazil and in parts of Africa but finding stones of high quality and decent size is difficult. The finest examples of Alexandrite are often found in Estate jewelry because the best deposits were found in the Ural Mountains and made into jewelry in the late 1800s. The color change phenomenon has not been as strong in material from other countries.
Padparadscha Sapphire – Although it is part of the sapphire family and therefore has the same structural composition as the more common blue sapphire, this exquisite stone is rare and cherished because of its color. It is usually light to medium toned, but can be found in a more vivid, saturated hue which makes it even more rare; it is the most wonderful balance of pinkish-orange. Most deposits have been found in Sri Lanka, which is where it gets its intriguing and exotic name - the Sinhalese word for lotus blossom. Some would say it is the most valuable of all sapphires and it has commanded extraordinary prices at auction.
Imperial Topaz – Natural Topaz comes in an array of colors including blue, green, yellow, orange, red, pink and purple, and much of it is even colorless. Imperial Topaz is the most expensive variety due to its relative rarity and has a beautiful reddish-orange to orange-red, brownish and pinkish color. It is 8 on the Moh’s scale of hardness just below corundum (sapphire and ruby) so it is very wearable. It is mined in Ouro Preto in Brazil. Topaz, like Andalusite, is pleochroic; it could show more than one color. It is also mined in the Ural Mountains and was named in honor of the Czars in the period where it was a highly prized stone. It has few natural inclusions, so it is usually eye-clean and is so versatile; it is seen in many cuts and sizes.