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Color On The Rise

Color is an important part of our lives, it speaks to us and allows us to express our individuality, something we can define through our favorite colored gemstones. Suzanne Martinez, jewelry historian and co-owner of San Francisco-based Lang Antique and Estate Jewelry, talks about the rising interest in colored gemstone jewelry.

Art Deco Gemstone Ring
Art Deco Emerald ring

Why Color is More Popular Now

Colored gemstones have become increasingly popular over the past few years and there are a number of reasons for that. According to Martinez, “Colored gemstones have always been a part of the jewelry world, but due to social media people are more aware of the possibilities. Also, some new mines have opened in the past 40 years that are not the big three (ruby, emerald, sapphire). Tanzanite and tsavorite came along and then Paraiba tourmaline was discovered and nothing else comes close to that color. And then there are treatments that people are aware of.”

Art Deco Gemstone Ring
Victorian ruby and diamond halo ring

Big Three Remain Top Sellers

There are myriad colored gems, but ruby, emerald and sapphire remain top sellers in part because people understand the value of those stones. “They have long histories and have been featured in some of the most famous jewelry pieces. They’ve also been seen in portraiture and on royalty. And they are always part of famous collections,” notes Martinez.

Art Deco Gemstone Ring
Art Deco unheated Kashmir sapphire ring

Colored Stone Engagement Rings

While engagement rings remain diamond centric there are brides who choose color as the center stone for their ring. The interest in colored stones for engagement rings started rising during the pandemic. “People want a color that they like,” says Martinez. “People need to understand that there are durability issues with wearing a stone every day. We recommend corundum (ruby and sapphire) because they are harder gems and the good news is that they come in every color of the rainbow. People still see other stones that they like, but they have to go into it with their eyes wide open so they understand the hardness and durability of the gemstone they want to wear every day.”

Art Deco Gemstone Ring
Tsavorite garnet ring

Right Hand Ring

Martinez notes that she encourages people to wear colored gemstone rings on their right hand for fun. She points to the wide variety of gemstones and mentions that she encourages her clients to buy what they like even if it is not the most valuable gem.

Another important factor that people consider when buying a colored gemstone is country of origin. Martinez notes that country of origin matters from many reasons — the best of a particular type of color gem may come from a specific locale, or a certain nuance of color may come from a particular location. These two factors will also contribute to the price of the gem.

Art Deco Gemstone Ring
Tiffany & Co. tanzanite ring

Advice for Buying Colored Gemstones

If you are planning on buying a colored gemstone, Martinez offers some advice. “Do your homework. Look at gems in person, you need to see the stone in person to see the true color. You should compare stones and look at both cut and color,” concludes Martinez. “Buy from a reputable company and go in with as much information as possible. Know the durability of the gemstone and wear accordingly, that way you will never be disappointed.”

Art Deco Gemstone Ring
Edwardian Colombian emerald and diamond ring

By Amber Michelle

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