Gemstones

Gemstones

Colors

With such a variety of hues, you may not know where to start. Many women like to wear their birthstones or the birthstones of their children or grandchildren. There are also gemstones that correspond to anniversary dates. A woman who dresses in a predominant color may want to accessorize her wardrobe in complementary shades.

Red - Pink
Rubies are available in a range of hues, from purplish and bluish red to orange-red. Pure reds with no overtones of brown or blue are most valuable.

Spinel ranges in color from red to pastel shades of pink. Although more rare than ruby, fine spinel is more affordable because it is not well known.

Rubellite tourmaline comes in colors from pink to red, sometimes with a violet overtone. Rubellites with a rich ruby color are most prized.

Garnet offers a number of red alternatives. Rhodolite garnet comes in shades from pink to purplish red; almandine garnet is found in violet to pure red; pyrope is produced in yellowish red to dark red; and spessartine garnet is found in brownish orange to brownish red.

Sapphire is also found in fancy pink shades. Other pink gems that are more affordable are beryls, from the same gem family as emerald: Kunzite is pinkish-violet and morganite is peachy-pink.

Orange - Yellow
Padparadscha sapphire is a very rare gem that has a strong orangey-pink color.

Fancy color sapphire comes in yellow tones. The more clear and vivid the color, the more valuable.

Topaz is available in rich, warm colors including yellow, gold, orange and peach. Imperial topaz is gold with pinkish-red overtones.

Interesting Fact

Topaz means "fire" in Hindi. In India it is believed that if you put topaz under your pillow at night, the stone helps soothe the nerves and energize the body. Topaz is rumored to possess the mystic power of bringing light to life, relieving stress and protecting the owner against danger.

Citrine comes in shades of yellow to orange to brown for sizes less than 5 carats.

Sunstone is produced in rich orangey-red and yellow shades.

Fire opal is sought after for its vibrant orange to orange-red hues.

Garnets also come in orange and yellow shades for reasonable prices.

Beryl comes in rich yellow and golden shades.

Green
Emerald is one of the most revered gems and has long been regarded as the quintessential green in nature.

If emerald is out of your price range, try tourmaline. Chrome tourmaline offers rich green colors.

Fancy sapphire also comes in green, as well as tanzanite.

Peridot ranges in color from yellowish-green to olive green.

Garnet also comes in green. The most valuable are tsavorite (green grossular) and demantoid (green andradite). Demantoid, considered the queen of garnet, has exceptional brilliance and a lustrous emerald-green color.

Blue - Violet
Sapphire, of course, is considered the ultimate blue gemstone.

Spinel comes in pastel blue, gray blue, green-blue and deep blue.

Aquamarine can be found in a range of shades from the palest pastel to greenish-blue to deep aqua. Color can be intense in larger gems; smaller ones are often less vivid.

Topaz is enhanced to create a pale to medium blue, which is rarely found in nature.

Tanzanite is also enhanced to a vivid blue with purple overtones. It comes in various shades of purple as well. Smaller sizes tend toward lighter lavender tones. Larger sizes typically display deeper, richer colors.

Iolite is gaining widespread popularity as a sapphire and tanzanite alternative. It is found in shades of violet blue to gray blue.

Amethyst is the most popular and affordable purple gem. Sister to citrine (a member of the quartz family), amethyst comes in a variety of shades from pale lilac to violet to pale red-violet. Deep colors, particularly a rich purple with rose flashes, are the most popular.


Care

  • Never remove jewelry by pulling on the gemstone. Pulling the stone exposes it to perspiration, skin oil and dirt, as well as the possibility it will become loose in its setting.
  • Never store jewelry in piles to avoid gems and metals abrading each other or chains entangling. Wrap each piece in velvet, paper or silk; or separate in sections of a jewelry box or fabric pouch.
  • Remove all jewelry before sports, housework or yard work where jewelry could be exposed to impacts and/or chemicals.
  • Check for loose gems and clasps before each wear.
  • Have a jeweler restring necklaces at least every two years, annually if you wear them frequently.
  • Clean most gem-set jewelry with a mild soapy solution in warm water, a soft brush, and a soft cloth to pat dry.

Popular gems and their specific cleaning requirements:

Alexandrite
Clean with soapy water, alcohol or commercial cleaning solutions. An ultrasonic cleaner or steamer is safe.

Amber
Use only warm soapy water, no brush. Pat dry. Do not use mechanical cleaners; avoid abrasives, chemicals and heat.

Aquamarine
Use warm soapy water and a soft brush. Mechanical cleaners are safe, but not on heavily included gems. Avoid most chemicals, heat and excessive cleaning.

Diamond
Mechanical cleaners are safe, unless a stone has fractures or is fracture-filled. If that is the case, avoid heat and chemicals. Ammonia-based cleaners or mild solvents are fine. If using warm soapy water, rinse well and pat dry to avoid residue.

Emerald
Clean with a soft, damp cloth, warm water and a soft brush. Do not use mechanical cleaners. Avoid chemicals and heat that dissolve oils used during cutting and processing to conceal inclusions. Although emerald is harder than quartz, its crystal structure makes it brittle. Have a jeweler reoil your emerald every few years.

Garnet
Warm soapy water and a soft brush are recommended. An ultrasonic cleaner is safe for most garnets, except andradite (the best-known variety is demantoid). Do not use a steamer.

Jade
Warm soapy water is recommended. Mechanical cleaners are safe. Avoid contact with warm acids.

Opal
Use a soft dry or damp cloth. Do not soak. Do not use mechanical cleaners. Avoid impacts, dry conditions, heat and chemicals.

Peridot
Warm soapy water and a soft brush is recommended. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer. Avoid contact with acids.

Quartz (amethyst, citrine & ametrine)
Warm soapy water is recommended. An ultrasonic cleaner is usually safe, but a steamer is risky. Avoid acids, intense heat, and prolonged bright light.

Ruby & Sapphire
Clean with soapy water or commercial solvent and brush. Mechanical cleaners are safe, except for heavily included gems.

Spinel
Clean with soapy water or commercial solvent and brush. Mechanical cleaners are safe, except for heavily included gems.

Tanzanite
Warm soapy water and a soft brush is recommended. Do not use an ultrasonic cleaner or steamer. Avoid contact with acids.

Topaz
Clean with a soft, damp cloth, warm water and a soft brush. Do not use mechanical cleaners. Avoid chemicals and heat that dissolve oils used during cutting and processing to conceal inclusions. Although it is hard, it cleaves. A sudden temperature change or impact can cause a break. Have a jeweler re-oil your topaz every few years.

Tourmaline
Warm soapy water and a soft brush are recommended. Do not use mechanical cleaners.

Turquoise
Wipe with a soft damp cloth and dry. Do not soak or use mechanical cleaners. Avoid chemicals. Silver cleaners will cause discoloration.