Color Me Beautiful
Modern Colored Gemstone Engagement Rings
Nestled in my cozy corner, between Rockefeller Center and the Diamond District, I come across a lot of exquisitely colored gemstones on a daily basis, and I’ve had the pleasure of designing fine jewelry around these beautiful gemstones, especially for engagement rings and wedding bands.
Since proposal season is upon us, I want to share some of my thoughts and wisdom on the perfect colored gemstones for engagement rings. The white diamond will always be the stone of choice for most bridal fine jewelry, due to its exceptional brilliance and durability. However for a select group of women a colored gemstone is their Symbol of Love. If you’ve never envisioned the white diamond as your gemstone, below are several gemstones I recommend for beauty, durability and fascinating color options. They also offer varying price points for budgets without sacrificing beauty or value.
Still a colored gemstone, the diamond is the hardest substance on earth; so that always makes it the most desired bridal jewelry for everyday wear. Who can forget the scene in 2010 when Mr. Big finally proposes to Carrie Bradshaw, in a final scene of the movie Sex and the City 2, with a ravishing 5 carat black diamond ring and tells her “because you are not like anyone else.”
Commonly thought of as colorless, the diamond actually comes in many colors-yellow, green, blue, brown, pink, orange and even red. Recently the black diamond has become popular, on its own merit, for the stone’s dark grounding brilliance.
The Other Royal Stone. The sapphire engagement ring first gained modern notoriety in 1981 as Princess Diana’s engagement ring from Charles, the Prince of Wales. Her engagement ring consists of 14 solitaire diamonds surrounding a 12-carat oval blue Ceylon sapphire set in 18-karat white gold. The iconic royal ring continues to find fame in modern history as it was passed down to Prince William. The prince would then propose to Catherine Middletown (Duchess of Cambridge) with his mother’s engagement ring.
A durable and valuable alternative to the diamond engagement ring. The sapphire is a type of stone known as corundum: the second hardest material on earth. The red version of corundum is known as the ruby. Enchanted by the blue sapphire, most people are not aware that sapphires come in a rainbow of colors. “Fancy sapphires” come in violet, green, yellow, orange, pink, purple, and intermediate hues.
Some sapphires exhibit the phenomenon known as “color change”, most often going from blue in daylight or fluorescent lighting to purple under incandescent light. For the woman seeking a white stone with a softer romantic light I have suggested white sapphires.
Engagement Ring Durability. An important characteristic of the engagement ring is durability. The ring, along with the wedding band, is meant to last longer than any other piece of fine jewelry due to its significance as a symbol of eternal love. For the woman that would like to wear her ring daily and with little thought or maintenance, I do suggest diamonds and sapphires. Durability also means a ring becomes an "heirloom": it can last and serve several generations in a family. Also, durability in a stone allows for redesigning fine jewelry over time. Both modern English royal engagements are a testament to the power of durable gemstones like diamonds and sapphires.
Instead of offering a ruby for a "red stone," I'd rather suggest a spinel. Known as the jeweler’s stone, the spinel is a gemstone that is not a mainstream darling, however it is an absolutely elegant gemstone and offers a durability that makes for an excellent engagement ring. Singly refractive, like a diamond, and often very transparent, red spinel rivals ruby’s color but it costs much less. The stone’s color ranges from red to blue, green, black and colorless. The stone also has its place in history. The famous 14th century Black Prince’s Ruby in the British Imperial State Crown is actually a red spinel. The rare spinel is embedded in the crown next to the infamous Cullinan II, aslo known as the Second Star of Africa, a cushion-cut diamond weighing 317.4 carats.
The blush tone of a morganite gemstone has made many a modern woman fall in love with this gemstone. One of Tiffany’s best patrons in the 19th century was the renowned financier John Pierpont (J.P.) Morgan. When Tiffany & Co. unveiled a previously unknown gemstone with hues soft as silk, it was named morganite in his honor.
Pink morganite was discovered in Madagascar in 1910 and known as 'pink beryl'. Shortly thereafter, George D. Kunz, a famous American gemologist and buyer for Tiffany & Company renamed it in honor of the famous financier and avid gemstone collector. The stone would be a new gemstone introduced to the world by Tiffany in 1911; since its discovery, gem collectors have prized morganite.
This floral colored stone has gone on to become a very popular modern alternative to white diamond engagement rings. As a stone, morganite ranges from a pale pink to a deeper bluish pink. As a beryl, the pink love stone is quite durable for everyday wear. It is not as strong as a diamond or a sapphire, but with the right amount of thoughtfulness and daily care, it can stand the test of time.
In modern love stories, John F. Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier in the 1950s with a 2.84-carat emerald and a 2.88-carat diamond engagement ring. This green beryl is absolutely exquisite. However, as beautiful and as unique as the gemstone is, it is the most fragile of the colored stones discussed. The emerald is always desired for engagement rings yet it requires the most maintenance and consciousness when wearing the ring. Emeralds are generally not recommended for constant everyday wear, especially if one performs a lot of manual labor and/or chores.
Emeralds contain inclusions due to the manner in which the crystal grows. These marks are sometimes called “jardin,” which is the French word for “garden” due to their mossy like appearance. The jardin also makes the stone more prone to cracks, so an emerald ring has to be created with the utmost thoughtfulness to protect the stone. No one said maintaining a beauty was an easy job! However, this is the perfect gemstone for the right girl.
There you have it, colored gemstones I recommend for bridal fine jewelry. However, when shopping for a colored gemstone, please work with a reputable jeweler who can give you the necessary assurances and certificates on the colored stone you purchase, since colored gemstones can easily be mistaken for other colored stones. You should also be informed if the stones are natural, heat-treated or chemically treated. Have questions for me? Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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