Gemstones To Inspire Your Vacation Dreams — Let’s Go!
Pack your bags, load your car, and hit the road to head to the airport, and let’s take that much-needed time to de-stress and refresh. Let’s pretend, however briefly, that these past 16 months reside in the distant past — barely a flicker in our memories. We’ll make this summer trip particularly joyous and meaningful.
So let’s talk about gemstones that will brighten your customer’s vacay wardrobe, and afterward, summon memories of their wonderful time away. Select findings for a pendant, earrings, or bracelet dangles, choose family jewelry mountings to celebrate your holiday destination, or go the custom design route, and the sky’s the limit.
Atlantic, Pacific, Gulf Coast, Caribbean: Summertime and beaches are meant for each other. The lapping water or white-cap waves, the vast sky, breezes, tropical foliage, and the sand beneath my feet that always ends up in the condo — they put you back in touch with nature, serenity, and joy. You sigh and relax.
Customers can keep their beach bliss long after the vacation. Create eye-catching jewelry with water-inspired beauties such as turquoise, coral, aquamarine, green moissanite, and zircon, or paint a sunset with rose quartz, ametrine, tanzanite, and orange garnet. Keep the sand between your toes with rutilated quartz or citrine cabochons, our new brown moissanite, a top light brown, or champagne diamonds.
Summer in the mountains offers stunning vistas and refreshingly cool days. Distant snow-caps, green fields with wildflowers, rushing streams, deep lakes, and tempting trails beckon you outside. You fill your days with biking, horseback riding, rock climbing hiking the surrounding heights, and photographing all that you see. Later in the day, relax with a soak in hot springs. All the activities and vivid beauty restore your spirits.
Customers can capture the thrill and freedom of their mountain vacation with durable gemstones: sapphire, ruby, colored moissanite, emerald, aquamarine, morganite, topaz, and tourmaline. To explore the colors of mountain rock, go neutral with smoky or tourmalinated quartz. Or select our Misty, Ash, Marbled Gray, and black Specialty Diamonds.
Bring on the bright lights for your summer in the city vacation, be it New York, Washington DC, Nashville, St Louis, San Francisco, or L.A. You’ll celebrate the arts with museums and performances and catch as much music as you can. That’s not to mentions all the fabulous restaurants and sights to see. Choose black and white wardrobe pieces, then highlight with pops of color and sparkle to add fun and fashion.
Choose Stuller Moissanite in DEF — go big in a larger size — or choose one of the gorgeous colored moissanite we offer: blue, green, yellow, brown, and back. Make a statement with fire opal, lab-grown sapphires in dazzling pink, yellow, and orange, bi-color tanzanite, and imperial topaz. All these and many more will capture your city lights theme.
Stuller’s Earth to Market gemstones are gemstones of known origin, a significant initiative for us. We have undertaken it because it’s good for you, our customers, good for your customers who will increasingly want this information, and good for the industry.
Benefits of Earth to Market Gems
Help tell the story of that individual gemstone from its earthly origin to the wearer’s jewelry.
Share the compelling story of small gemstone mines that leave a minimal environmental footprint.
Support small-scale mining and jobs for individuals, families, and communities with no other means of livelihood.
Available in Stuller Notable Gems™ selection and calibrated stones.
So Many Hands
For thousands of years, most gemstones reached major markets after passing through innumerable hands. This made it near impossible to know the original source of a stone. To demonstrate what we mean, let’s think back to the famed Silk Road, an ancient series of trade routes linking China’s extraordinary wealth of goods to Middle Eastern and European markets.
Traders and merchants took significant risks while crossing Asia’s vast, remote regions. They contended with attacks, disease, and even death. Today we might call them thrill-seekers or adventurers — but not entirely. They traveled in large groups and relied on their knowledge and the local contacts they had made on previous trips. And few traveled the whole distance — quite literally, many thousands of miles.
Caravans would go only so far, then trade and sell their wares to other traders to acquire goods they could sell on their way back home. The new caravan would move west with their caravans of donkeys, horses, camels, and yaks burdened with China’s finest silks, jade sculptures, porcelain, paper (invented by the Chinese), gemstones from Asia’s rivers and mountains, and much more.
En route, the merchants would buy or trade for more prized treasures. In the region we now call Afghanistan, they sought highly desirable lapis lazuli, aquamarine, and more. They looked for exquisite Persian turquoise, Egyptian emeralds, topaz, and peridots in Middle Eastern markets. They were anticipating their arrival in Venice, the most powerful Western trading market in the Middle Ages. Who knows how many hands the gemstones passed through to reach this destination and the people who purchased the gems. It’s impossible to count.
Even today, gemstones from all over Asia mingle in Bangkok and and other gemstone hubs, making it hard to say anything more than “origin assumed.” Many of these gems are cut and polished in Bangkok then move on to other places around the globe and large wholesalers. Fortunately, we have our own office in Bangkok, and our on-site buyers and graders keep a close eye on what they purchase and its origin story.
Our gemstone buyers and product directors travel more than 250,000 miles per year sourcing stones and visiting stone sources and operations, ensuring they follow our strict ethical standards.
By offering your customers our Earth to Market gemstones, you have the opportunity to share an ethically and environmentally friendly story and make them a vital part of it. You can be sure they’ll share the story with friends, and you’ll get more business as a result.
In 1893, French chemist Henri Moissan was examining rock samples in Canyon Diablo, Arizona. Peering inside a meteor crater, he came across a bevy of sparkling stones and mistakenly identified them as diamonds.
These crystals were silicon carbide — aka, Moissanite. And Moissan actually wasn’t the first person to encounter Moissanite.
Enter: Edward Acheson
American chemist Edward G. Acheson successfully created silicon carbide in a lab in 1891. He pioneered the Acheson process, a process used to create silicon carbide. Similarly to Henri Moissan, Acheson also had a slight blunder: he was attempting to synthesize diamonds but instead created blue crystals of silicon carbide.
It wouldn’t be until 1904 that Acheson and Moissan would realize they were looking at the same mineral.
And although Acheson was first to the silicon carbide punch, Moissanite was named in honor of Henri Moissan.
Why Choose Lab-Created Moissanite?
In its natural form, Moissanite remains exceptionally rare, coming only from meteorites that strike Earth’s upper mantle. In fact, after Moissan’s discovery, no natural Moissanite was found until 1958 — this time in Wyoming. It’s because of this rarity in nature that humans decided to grow them in a lab, making Moissanite available for everyone — for both industrial uses and for jewelry purposes.
When used in jewelry, lab-created Moissanite has unmatched brilliance that sparkles from across the room. Its attractive price point adds to its dazzling impact, making any jewelry dream a reality.
Here are a few reasons to choose lab-created Moissanite for your engagement ring, body jewelry, or fine fashion jewelry:
Lab-created Moissanite is affordable
Because scientists have perfected the growing process, lab-created Moissanite is incredibly affordable. Carat for carat, your customers can get a larger Moissanite at a significantly lower price than a diamond of the same size. For couples with a limited budget, this lets them get the center stone they want with no sacrifice on size, clarity, cut, or color.
Lab-created Moissanite lasts a lifetime
It’s a 9.25 on the Mohs Scale, which means Moissanite has a high tolerance to being scratched. It’s harder than even sapphire and ruby, which rank at 9. Moissanite is also exceptionally durable — or, in geological terminology, tough. This refers to the fact Moissanite doesn’t chip, break, or fracture easily.
Lab-created Moissanite has some serious sparkle — more than even diamonds!
With its double refraction and radiant rainbow fire, this lively, durable gem offers each customer the exciting opportunity to wear sparks of rainbow fire in earrings, rings, body chains, anklets, and more.
Nothing gets wasted in the growing process
Non-gem-quality Moissanite is used in computer chips and motherboards.
Why Choose Stuller for Lab-Created Moissanite?
When you buy lab-created Moissanite from Stuller, you get a variety of benefits. Here are five reasons why Stuller is your go-to supplier for any Moissanite need:
NEW: 5 fancy color options
In Stuller Lab-Created Moissanite™, you have five affordable, vibrant color options:
Our colored lab-created Moissanite is never coated. The color you see is the color they were grown to be.
In-stock and ready to ship
With our inventory of over one million gemstones held on-site and ready to ship, you can choose a stone on our site today and have it in your hand tomorrow.
Sizes range from 1mm to 12.5mm
If you need a larger size, special cut, or anything else, our Special Order Services team is always ready to find it for you. With more than 10,000 gemstones procured each year, they know what it takes, where to go, and who to call to find exactly what you need.
Two luxurious brands
We offer two brands, both of which are eye clean, loupe clean, and affordable: Stuller Lab-Created Moissanite and Charles & Colvard.
Stuller Lab-Created Moissanite™
Available in two color grades: DEF colorless and GH near-colorless
Best for customers who want to get maximum sparkle for their budget
Has a variety of fancy-colored options: blue, green, brown, yellow, and black
Charles & Colvard Forever One® Moissanite
Available in two color grades: DEF colorless and GHI near-colorless
Best for customers who want the traditional name in lab-created Moissanite
Comes with a limited lifetime warranty
Available in Old European cuts
An abundance of shapes and cuts
Our selection has 14 shapes and even more cuts, including on-trend and classic options, such as rose-cut stones.
Is it really March already? The calendar says so, and that can only mean we Northern Hemisphere dwellers will soon be welcoming in spring and packing up our winter wardrobes. But March means more than just spring — it also means St. Patrick’s Day is on the way!
Wednesday, March 17, marks this year’s celebration, and we’ve got just what you need to invite good fortune AND to wear something green to protect yourself from being unwittingly pinched.
The Luck of the Irish
To kick off your social-distanced St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, we’re highlighting five gemstones that will have you and your customers green with envy. We suggest getting your hands on these gems as soon as possible so that you can enjoy the luck of the Irish all March long.
1. Fancy Green Moissanite
Just in time for St. Patrick’s Day, our gemstone team is THRILLED to introduce a most fitting gem: fancy green Stuller Lab-Created Moissanite™ (in addition to four other new fancy colors).
Offering both a lush green hue with the intense sparkle that is Moissanite’s claim to fame, our green Lab-Created Moissanite is perfect for any green aficionado. Share these cool facts about Moissanite to let them know you’re their gemstone expert for any need:
This stone was discovered in an Arizona meteorite crater, but all Moissanite used in jewelry today is created in a lab
Ranking at 9.25 on the Mohs Scale, Moissanite is harder than ruby and sapphire — and strong enough for daily wear in engagement rings, fashion styles, and body jewelry alike
Moissanite has more than twice as much sparkle as diamonds due to its unique refractive properties
Scientifically known as silicon carbide, Moissanite is used in computer motherboards
Stay tuned for next month’s Sell With a Story, where we’ll do a deep dive into everything about Lab-Created Moissanite: its history, our two brands, Stuller’s five fancy colors, and even a new video showcasing why Moissanite is so marvelous.
Ranging in hue from a warm yellow-green to a cool blue-green, it’s no surprise we embrace emerald for those born in May, the height of spring. As one of the Big Three gemstones, emerald has endured in popularity for centuries, being THE go-to gemstone for all things green.
Of course, there’s a variety of green gems available today, but for customers who want the traditional green gem, emerald is the only choice. Just be sure to treat it with care since these gems can be finicky and fragile to work with.
The name emerald finds its root in the Sanskrit word marakata, meaning the green of growing things
Due to its lush, rolling countryside, Ireland is famously known as the Emerald Isle
Emeralds and emerald jewelry are the gifts for the 35th wedding anniversary
The world’s largest emerald is a privately owned 7,052-carat uncut crystal from Colombia
Garnet comes in a wide range of richly hued shades that are both reasonably priced and readily available. But as with all stones, there are select types that are superstars. In garnet, that standout superstar stone is the Demantoid variety.
Getting its eye-popping color from trace amounts of chromium and ferric iron, this lime-green gem has one thing that makes it outshine the rest of the garnet family: Demantoid garnet has incredible fire dispersion — more so than diamonds!
Demantoid, meaning diamond-like, comes from the old German word demant
The highest quality gems come from Russia’s Ural Mountains, where it was discovered in 1853
Faceted stones above two carats are rare, and most are under one carat
Some have beautiful, unique golden horsetail inclusions — which make them even more valuable
Meet the other green giant of the garnet family: Tsavorite. This vivid grass-green gemstone gets its color from the element vanadium, although some Tsavorite garnets contain other elements that give their exceptional color a whisper of blue.
Also called the Evening Emerald, peridot is a radiant green with a hint of gold. This lush hue embodies true splendor and growth. While best known as the birthstone for August babies, anyone can enjoy peridot’s unique shade — and indeed, people are enjoying it, as peridot has been trending in a huge way recently.
If you have a customer who loves peridot for what it is, let them know that birthstones aren’t limited only to those born in a specific month. Anyone can enjoy this lovely bright green, perfect for both a spring celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and for sweltering summer days spent poolside.
Peridot is the gift for the 16th wedding anniversary
Why pear-a-doe and not pear-a-dot? Peridot was first mined in the town of Peridot, Arizona
Peridot is one of few gemstones that appears in exactly one color: a perfect pistachio panache
The oldest peridot gemstones came to Earth in a meteorite, and they’re 4.5 billion years old — a far cry from the meager millions of years of Earth-forged Peridot
With more than one million gemstones in our inventory and our next-day delivery on all in-stock products, we can get you what you need, when you need it — with the spectacular customer service for which we’re known.
Think back to the stones that have dominated jewelry center pieces for years past. If you’re like many, you probably immediately thought of the big four stones: diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies. No one can deny their beauty, but as customers’ tastes evolved, beauty alone isn’t enough.
They want something else. Something with a story. Something no one else has.
One way in which we’ve seen customers exploring this desire for uniqueness is with gemstone combinations that range from bold jewel tones that give the wearer confidence to sunny color unions that invite happiness.
Take it Back to the 1920s
Back in the 1920s, Cartier unveiled a bracelet that utilized an unusual color combination: green, red, blue, and white. Of course, those four colors came from the big four stones themselves — emeralds, rubies, sapphires, and a dash of diamonds — and thus a luxurious line of jewelry was born. Later on, these designs came to be known as Tutti Frutti.
While these shades seem to conflict with one another, Pierre Cartier was clearly onto something: the popularity of this combination has endured in the approximate 100 years that have passed since Tutti Frutti’s introduction. And with the record-breaking $1,300,000 sale of one of these bracelets at Sotheby’s last year, gem-intensive styles have enjoyed a renewed cultural relevance and fanbase.
The 2020 return of Tutti Frutti has opened the door for unique color pairings — and the more they pop, the better.
Blue and Orange
Bright, ornamental designs are trending in a huge way, especially when they combine a matte, opaque stone sitting in contrast beside a translucent faceted gem. Lapis lazuli, malachite, onyx, coral, and turquoise are but a few of the gems that are up for the task.
One of my favorite pairings is in the above image, where the complementary combination of blue and orange lends itself to a striking story of fire and ice.
While you can use a deep blue sapphire for this combination, how about swapping that deep blue gem for the soft blue of turquoise? Mixing textures is a visually interesting way to kick up the fun of any design.
For example, let a faceted orange stone (I suggest the ever-beautiful spessartite garnet) take center stage, and have a halo of turquoise frame it. Accent these designs with a sprinkle of white diamonds, and the result will be a seriously eye-catching design. The contrasting texture of opaque against faceted is one we absolutely adore — and your customers will too!
Pink, Green, and Teal
For younger customers who want to break away from the rubies, emeralds, and sapphires that their grandparents wore, a combination of pink spinel, teal tourmaline, and mint green garnet may strike their fancy.
This tropical combination is a contemporary take on classic red/green/blue designs yet still offers customers an effortless piece they can wear with any outfit. Try experimenting with the balance of colors to see what you like best. The size of the stones, the shapes you use, the metal quality, and so much more give you endless ways to play with this combination.
Of course, you can always try swapping out one of these gemstone colors for another of the same hue or vibrance. For example, what if the pink spinel not working for you? Maybe a yellow sapphire will do the trick.
Explore the Rainbow: Shop Gemstones by Color
This trend toward bright colors is sure to continue and will become the foundation of many custom masterpieces to come. To help you play a part in these future masterpieces, Stuller is here for you.
With more than 105 gemstone types, you’re sure to find what you need — especially because we’ve made it so easy with one key feature on our website. When you need some color inspiration, the Shop by Color feature on Stuller’s website can help you find the perfect shade.
How it works is quick and easy:
Choose calibrated faceted, calibrated cabochon, or Notable Gems®.
Pick your desired color or color range — select one or many!
Browse available shapes and sizes for your selection(s).
Toggle any additional specifics: origin, color quality, unique features, and more.
Stuller is Your Gemstone Source
Presenting your customers with relevant color choices positions you as the trend expert. And with Stuller in your back pocket, you can quickly and easily get everything you need to cement their trust in you.
We keep an on-site, in-stock inventory of more than one million gemstones that are ready for next-day delivery.
To remain close to operations and stay current with industry trends, we maintain a facility in Bangkok, Thailand.
Our buyers travel more than 250,000 each year to procure the stones in our vaults and to visit suppliers, cutters, and miners.
We have trained gemological experts on standby when you would like firsthand information about a specific gemstone in our inventory.
From the calibrated gems you rely upon to completely unique individual stones, we can support you and your customers in finding the perfect center piece or suite of stones for any special project.
Read more articles about Stuller’s gemstone offering and find exactly what’s right for you.
As a child watching The Wizard of Oz in years, I was too mesmerized by the wonder of Dorothy finding herself in a magical new world to take in all the details. Emerald City? That I understood. Ditto for her Ruby Slippers. But yellow bricks? Only years later, watching the movie for the who-knows-how-many-times, did I realize that the bricks were gold. Ah, looking back, it’s clear the yellow brick road didn’t just lead to the Emerald City. It was priceless in its own right — the ultimate symbol of luxury, the substance of dreams.
Dorothy was far from the only person to follow a golden road. Throughout history, gold discoveries have launched rushes across continents, up towering mountains, or distant streams and rivers. When we look at Renaissance portraits of current fashion magazines, we see gold everywhere — particularly yellow. Most people can tell you they love gold — whether yellow, white, or rose — and why, but few know much about its long, illustrious history.
Walk Back Along the Yellow Brick Road
We all know the vital role gold plays in the jewelry industry, but did you know our hominid ancestors — perhaps Neanderthals — discovered gold 40,000 years ago? This came to light when anthropologists and archaeologists studied ancient artifacts and paintings in Spanish caves, dating these treasures back 40 millennia. Among them, they discovered small gold nuggets. This rich yellow metal no doubt mesmerized those who first laid eyes on it as it has ever since.
In Days Long Past
In 5000 BCE, the Egyptians used electrum, a naturally occurring alloy of gold and silver ore, to make jewelry for both men and women. By 3000 BCE, gold jewelry appeared among the ancient Sumerians in Mesopotamia. In 2600 BCE, this same region produced the earliest example of lost wax casting, a funerary decoration for a long-ago queen. By 2500 BCE, gold chains emerged in the Sumerian city of Ur. And at this same time, the Egyptians discovered a wealth of techniques: filigree, granulation embossing, chasing, inlaying, molding, and engraving. South America’s Chavin culture used these techniques by 1200 BCE.
A Death Mask
Gold “death masks” originated in Ancient Egypt, where they believed the mask would help the deceased find their body in the afterlife. The most famous of these is King Tutankhamun. In the 18th century, a gold death mask was discovered in a mining shaft in southwestern Greece, known as Mycenae. Even though the mask pre-dated the Trojan War by 400 years, it was named the Mask of Agamemnon.
Did He Exist?
Agamemnon, the King of Ancient Mycenae, may or may not have lived outside Greek mythology, tragedies, and Homer’s Illiad. In mythology, he led the Greek army to the Trojan Wars, accompanying his brother Menelaus, Helen of Troy’s husband. But we have yet to make a specific match to a historical figure. The lesson learned? Mycenae was believed to be rich in gold. The mask and numerous decorative gold items discovered there indicate this was true.
The Nazca civilization near the Peruvian coast perfected lost-wax casting around 500 BCE. This should come as no surprise because South America was rich in gold and silver, and a number of its ancient societies were highly sophisticated.
Does the Sun Cry?
South America’s great Inca civilization believed it did. They considered gold as the “tears of the sun.” Can you imagine a more beautiful description? If so, please share it below. For me, this gorgeous image does justice to the precious metals, almost unearthly beauty.
Dorothy Got It Right
Between the Emerald City and the Ruby slippers, Dorothy knew how to pick the perfect gems to pair with gold. Centuries ago, when miners in Burma’s Mogok Valley discovered Pigeon Blood Ruby, the king had it set in 24K gold starting a tradition. Pigeon Blood — the finest shade of Ruby — has blue/purple undertones and the brilliant yellow of 24K cancels them out. This creates a peerless, vivid red, one of the most challenging shades to achieve.
Similarly with Emerald, high karat yellow gold enlivens Emerald’s brilliant green displaying it in its full glory.
Yellow gold also works magically with Alexandrite, Garnet, Pearl, Amethyst, and Sapphire.
Forever and Ever
I’m skipping over a long period from the Middle Ages through to the present. I’ll have to write another blog focusing on those lustrous years. Today we use gold for everyday jewelry, custom designs, sophisticated showstoppers, cocktail rings, and so much more.
Perhaps the biggest gold category is bridal — engagements, anniversary and eternity bands, and wedding bands. It makes perfect sense. Because gold doesn’t corrode, ancient cultures considered it “immortal” — like the love a couple vows to live. We say, “till death do us part,” but love lives on in the hearts of all those whose lives the couple touches — forever and ever.
The Big 3: Emerald, Ruby, and Sapphire Reign Supreme in the World of Gemstones
Year-round, Sapphires, Rubies, and Emeralds are the most sought-after gemstones. Treasured for their rich, brilliant hues, they have fascinated and bewitched all who lay eyes on them. Is it any wonder we designate them as the Big Three?
And during the holiday season, the demand for these breathtaking stones grows as we highlight in our Holiday 2020 brochure. We no longer refer to precious and semi-precious stones, yet Sapphire, Ruby, and Emerald remain precious in our hearts precisely because the finest stones are rare and costly.
I’ve often wondered if their holiday popularity is somehow related to the color of Christmas lights. But I think the opposite is true: our festive lights’ color captures the beguiling power of these jewel tones. We offer all three in Notable Gems™ and calibrated stones so you can meet all budgets. Here are some fascinating facts and tales that will nurture wonderful conversations with customers.
Ancient lore tells us that blue Sapphire brought spiritual enlightenment and inner peace. Sapphire also bestows wisdom, insight, and discernment to choose rightly when faced with obstacles and difficult situations. This jewel extended to the belief that Sapphire had the power to make peace between warring parties. Today, natural healers believe Sapphire has a positive effect on health issues, from hearing problems and inflammations to burns and cancer. It also has a calming effect, soothing a mind fighting depression and bringing joy to the wearer.
A Storied Sapphire
The Star of India — at 563,35 carats, one of the largest and certainly the most famous blue star sapphire — was discovered in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon) two to three centuries ago. Moorish traders purchased the rough stone, taking it to India, then under British rule. They considered Ceylon a part of the Indian colony, and by rights, the Moors should have sold the Sapphire to them. Instead, they sold it to a European dealer. Eventually, it was mistakenly named the Star of India instead of the Star of Ceylon. The stone is famous not just for its size and flawlessness but because its sharp six-rayed star appears on both sides.
The Blue Belle of Asia
In 2014, this magnificent 392.52-carat antique cushion stone set a record for the most expensive Sapphire ever sold at public auction claiming $17 million. The peerless blue beauty was originally intended as a gift to Queen Elizabeth II on her coronation. But it never made it to her jewel collection, disappearing for a good number of years. In recent years, a Saudi investor purchased it for an unknown price.
Who can resist ruby’s luscious red? Throughout history, ruby has embodied all of life’s intensity: power, passion, and love. Kings, princes, and the wealthy sought rubies for their exquisite beauty, rarity, and prestige. Many rubies were not set in jewelry in medieval times but admired for their intoxicating shade.
Not Just for Women
Ruby was considered the essence of wifely devotion: a fire burning within, enduring challenges and temptation. And ancient warriors implanted ruby beneath their skin, believing it imparted both courage and invincibility. Not a bad combination to have on the battlefield. Others thought it bestowed perfect safety, cured diseases of the blood, and denoted integrity and generosity. It also had the power to warn its owner against danger — perhaps someone was trying to steal the ruby. Wow! That was a lot of responsibility, even for the “King of Precious Gems.”
The ancient Burmese people first mined Ruby about 3000 BCE in the region around Mogok. They described the finest ruby as having the color of “pigeon’s blood,” a vibrant medium red with secondary purple hues. The Burmese set ruby in pure gold with its intense yellow color. The yellow canceled out the blue in the purple undertones, producing that rarest occurrence: a visually pure red. To this day, “pigeon’s blood” remains the most valuable ruby color. So much so that a large transparent ruby commands higher prices per carat than diamonds of the same weight.
This remarkable untreated pigeon blood Burmese Ruby is a rare 25.596-carat gem of the finest purity taking its name from a poem by Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet. In May 2015, it set a remarkable record for a colored gemstone selling for $30 million to an anonymous buyer. This price was three times the previous record for a ruby. Cartier set it in a platinum ring with shield-shaped diamonds on either side — a magnificent creation.
Ruby and Sapphire are both corundum. Color separates them with ruby’s hue from trace elements of chromium: the more chromium, the deeper the shade. Throughout history, ruby included all shades of red from light rose — a pink — to blood red. Historically, the lighter hues were considered “female rubies” while, the darker hues were “male rubies.”
Today in Asia, these lighter “reds” are still considered rubies. In North America and Europe, we call them pink Sapphire. The change happened in the late 19th/early 20th century. Why? A vibrant, medium red ruby is the preferred and most valuable color. This made the lighter rubies less valuable. But their beauty deserves its share of value. By creating pink Sapphire, jewelers didn’t need to compare it to ruby. Pink Sapphire has a separate category and standards getting its popularity from its much-loved vivid hue. That sounds like savvy marketing to me.
Let’s go back to the Emerald City of Oz and forget about clicking the heels of our ruby slippers. Let’s click our emerald slippers instead and enter a realm of captivating beauty that has long exerted a powerful attraction from the rulers of ancient India to today’s A-Listers.
The Ultimate Emerald Devotee
Cleopatra’s passion for Emeralds knew no bounds making her the gem’s most famous devotee. Her love led her far beyond jewelry. She wore emerald encrusted robes — a luxury by any standard. And she gave loose emeralds as gifts to visiting dignitaries — all of them men. Between 1000 and 3000 BCE, the earliest emerald source was discovered in Upper Egypt near the Red Sea. This later became known as “Cleopatra’s Mine.” Was this the origin of her many emeralds?
“The Green of Growing Things”
The name “emerald” comes to us from the Greek word, “smaragdos,” which may originate from either the Hebrew word “izmargad” or the Sanskrit word “marakata,” meaning “the green of growing things” — fresh, vivid, radiant. I like the Sanskrit version, which communicates the lush range of emerald hues. Think of the first leaves of spring and follow this verdant trail to the richer shades of spruce green. Along the way, you embrace a world of growth that reflects emerald’s mesmerizing power.
Catherine the Great’s Necklace
The Empress of Russia was famed for many treasured. Add this 75.61-carat Columbian emerald necklace to her riches. She received it in the18th century and ultimately it passed through many collectors’ hand to reach Pierre Cartier. In 2019, it was auctioned for $4.5 million.
Kermit Was Wrong — Way Wrong!
Kermit the Frog famously sang, “It’s not easy being green,” but when you’re admiring an emerald, you realize he got it all wrong. In addition to its famous beauty, extraordinary powers have been attributed to emerald through the ages. Read these, and you’ll realize that all of your customers need to have emerald jewelry — the more, the better.
In the 4th century BCE, Aristotle wrote that emerald increases its owner’s importance in presence and speech during business transactions.
Throughout history, many cultures believed emerald enhanced fertility and fidelity: not a bad combination.
By the Middle Ages, emeralds had the power —
To keep a woman chaste — but not a man!
Reveal truth and falsehood.
Provided an antidote to spells, enchantments, and demons.
Foretold the future if worn on the left side — but not the right.
To make people more intelligent and honest.
To change hues alerting its wearer of danger.
Whichever of these jewels your customers want, you’ll discover a stunning array in our Notable Gems™ and our calibrated stones, which include lab-created sapphires, rubies, and emeralds to meet all your needs.
For more interesting facts about gemstones and more information about the Big 3, check out some of our previous blog posts!
Aquamarine has long been considered a divisive stone; you either love them or love to hate them. With its unique color — non-replicable in nature — Aquamarine could be the enigma we all seek.
Adopted as March’s birthstone in 1912, Aquamarine has had varied uses throughout the centuries. Two thousand years ago, Emperor Nero used thin slices of Aquamarine to aide in his poor vision. Fast forward to the 1450s. The Germans, famous for precision gemstone cutting, used thin slices to create the optics they needed to cut gems and developed the earliest eyeglasses. The Germans called ‘eyeglass/glasses’ die brille, and many thought this name came from the mineral beryl.
By 1550, the Spanish believed that Aquamarine directly related to the fountain of youth based on stories passed from the Egyptians on down to Ponce de Leon who happened to be a great storyteller. Perhaps it was because this gemstone has long been thought of as a stone of the sea, protecting sailors under Neptune’s watchful eye. No matter which fabled tale engages you, Aquamarine conjures great appreciation from many.
As a Beryl family member, which includes gorgeous green emeralds and pink morganites, Aquamarine comes in soft blue and greenish-blue shades. Categorized as a type 1 stone, most Aquamarine are eye-clean which is important because its tonality and saturation reveal even the smallest inclusions, lowering its value.
Heat-Treated vs. Non-Heat-Treated Aquamarine
Historically, the jewelry industry has two camps regarding the value of heat-treated Aquamarine — those believing the treatment lessens the stone’s value, and those who think it increases a stone’s value. Let’s explore both.
First, it’s important to point out that most Aquamarine are heat-treated. It’s considerably more challenging to find un-treated stones, although a prolific hoard coming from Brazil will make it easier. These new stones have colors and clarities that need no help.
Those who prefer a greenish aquamarine will generally find it in the “treated has less value” camp. Heating Aquamarine does not tend to change the color, but it minimizes impurities that cause the greenish hue, leaving behind a pure, crystal clear pastel blue. Those preferring this easy to identify blue believe that heating increases value. Neither camp is wrong; it merely reflects a difference of opinion. But identifying your camp will help you sell these subtle gemstones.
Letting a customer know that a stone is heated right up front, that it is an industry-wide practice and is irreversible, can help you gain credibility – not all jewelers disclose this treatment. It also allows you to look and feel like the expert as you explain that removing stone impurities reduces the underlying greenish colors making the stone the much desired sky-blue.
The same holds true for letting a customer know that the Aquamarine they prefer is an unheated natural gem with its color just as the Earth produced it. It would not hurt to add that due to the rarity of un-heated stones (remember, heating is standard practice), a beautiful natural aquamarine’s value can go up. Also, explain what impurities exist in Aquamarine. Vanadium, one such impurity, has an intense teal color that not only increases the value but also can give the Aquamarine the passing look of a Paraiba, a color well suited to current trends.
The Value of Aquamarine
No matter the camp you reside in, understanding the why behind a gemstone’s value can help you sell in the way that makes the most sense for you and your associates.
If you need help understanding more about the stones we offer within Stuller Gemstones™, please reach out to our experts. We are happiest when helping you succeed.
Want to know how you can implement striking and colorful gemstones to your jewelry case? Check out one of our previous blogs for inspiration!
A sunset, tropical waters, watercolor paintings, Holi color clouds, the galaxy. You might be asking, “What do these have in common?”
If you have ever seen an opal, you likely already know. Considered one of the most colorful stones available within the industry, opals show many colors all in one wearable stone.
All About Black Opal
Moody and mysterious, black opals are fitting for an October birthstone. They have a dark body color with a gorgeous play of color that spans the spectrum. The benefit to a dark body color is that the colors pop off the darker background and scream at people to look at them.
The rarest and most valuable type of opal — black opals — are found at Lightning Ridge in New South Wales, Australia. No one really knows where Lightning Ridge got its name; however, allegedly a farmer, his trusty four-legged companion, and his flock of sheep were struck by lightning, aiding in the ridge getting its name.
Perhaps that’s fitting. Lightning Ridge black opals can be as dark as midnight with a play of color that’s akin to a night sky lit by bright flashes of lightning.
Opals have some technical words that are associated with them and them alone:
Play of color: The flashes of color you get when you rock and tilt the stone. This phenomenon is created by the internal structure interacting with light.
Body color: The background color, the palette in which all the colorful flashes lie.
At Stuller, we grade our calibrated gemstones based on the darkness of the body color. Gray body color will be graded as AA quality whereas a dark gray or black body results in AAA quality.
Each black opal in Stuller Notable Gems™ is hand selected to represent the best features or a quality that’s unique to that stone, whether that’s body color, pattern, shape, or something else.
What Makes an Opal Valuable?
All other things equal, the play of color and the stone’s pattern determine an opal’s value.
Play of Color
A vibrant red opal has a more expensive price tag as it’s incredibly rare. The more red visible when you tilt and turn the stone, the more expensive the opal. Follow the spectrum backward for values: blue, at the opposite end of the spectrum, is the most common and therefore the least valuable; yellow, in the middle, is valued as such.
Play of color that is visible from one angle or only on part of the surface drops the value of the stone. The play of color should be spread across the whole stone, even if it changes in pattern type.
It seems strange to think that the pattern of colors on a stone would aid in the value that it holds. However, when you think about it in terms of rarity, it makes more sense. There are three major types of patterns that hold sway on value, each represented by a corresponding look and rarity factor:
Pinfire: Very small patches or dots of spectral color.
Flash: Large areas of play of color.
Harlequin: Large, distinct, usually angular patches of play of color with touching edges.
Harlequin is quite rare, especially when you get a full range of colors, which makes it considerably more valuable. Pinfire is very common, making it less rare and therefore less valuable — even when the pinfire play of color is red.
Opals for October
The extraordinary shapes and unique ability to match and highlight any color makes black opal a go-to for designers wanting to create one-of-a-kind jewelry. The dark palette and eye-catching explosion of color make black opal a customer favorite for those keenly aware of the attention they will get — social media, here they come.
Try having a few loose in your store this month (it is the October birthstone, after all!), and it’s sure to lead to conversations about what black opals are, where they come from, and how customers can add one to their wish list.
At the very least, you get to have a lively, gemstone-positive conversation that can open the door for future questions. And your customers will think of you as the gemstone expert!
Did you know that Sapphire comes in every color of the rainbow, except red? Every. Single. Color. Plus a few.
Fancy colored Sapphires are all the extraordinary colors outside of traditional blue, colorless, and black. Today, we are going to explore some of the up-and-coming colors as well as some of the most sought after.
First up is one of the rarest of the Sapphire family, Padparadscha. Pronounced pod-par-ah’d-sha, this gorgeous and subtle stone named after the reddish-yellow lotus flower is equally controversial as it is rare. Depending on who you speak to, the color defined to be a Pad (pronounced pod) can vary. Here at Stuller, we define this color as representing both pink and orange color within the stone and pale to medium in tone. If you look at the Sapphire and the first thing you think of is that it could have been plucked from a mesmerizing sunset or last night’s salmon dinner, it is likely a Pad. Trending because of the gorgeous color; paired with a pink gold mounting, these stunners can be any, from punk to princess, pink lover’s dream.
Next up are cool tone Teal and Green Sapphires. These delicate colors are trending because of the unique and subtle color that packs an earthy punch. Coming from all over the world, teal and green stones can range from dark and broody with a surprising pop of color in the right light to faint, yet somehow bright, green. Stones coming from Montana in the US makes for a unique home-grown aesthetic. The draw to these sophisticated colors is how nicely they play with all metal colors and skin tones. The ethereal natural look lends them to delicate floral inspired mountings or minimalist designs that really let the stones shine.
Purple Sapphires are a durable alternative to amethyst; rich and deep and powerful all rolled up into one easy to wear, durable stone. As a trending color, purple is alive with intensity. Since purple can come in many different shades from violet to reddish, select a cool tone stone to match your platinum mounting and a reddish stone for your yellow mountings to bring out the best in your Purple Sapphire. It’s not unusual for Purple Sapphires to be color change (or color shift in this instance; a sly change from purple to violet blue is what you would be seeing) stones, so make sure to take your stone outside to optimize its color. This is a great sales technique for your customers too if you have the ability to do it — and certainly if you know your customer well.
Earth to Market Sapphires from Umba River Valley in Tanzania are one of my favorite fancy colored Sapphires right now. They feature a beautiful rich reddish cognac color with flashes of reds, oranges, yellows, browns, maroon, and even greens. This stone is the autumn leaves of New England embodied and are great for a customer that wants something photogenic with a great story. Our Earth to Market stones have known origins and the Sapphires are no exception.
Bicolor Sapphires, sometimes called Parti Sapphires, exhibit more than one color within the same stone. This colorful combination can be any match you can think but are more commonly found in the blue-green-yellow range or the pink-purple-blue range. Generally cut into shapes that are longer to show off a pronounced color line, bicolor Sapphires can come in many shapes and sizes. We have many bicolor Sapphires in our Notable Gems™ collection, including rose cuts and some unusual shapes.
We wrap up with a truly unusual fancy Sapphire, the Trapiche, which looks a little like a 6-spoke wheel with black, white, or grey growth pattern making the spokes and a greyish blue in-between. These unique cabochon or tablet cut stones can be special ordered through our Gemstone Special Orders Service in many different sizes and even as a matched pair for the customer who has everything and is ready for something curiously remarkable.
I hope reading about some of the lessor known Sapphire colors encourages you to choose one for your next gemstone or bridal customer. They make a great option for a stone that is durable and easy for everyday wear and, of course, a fantastic way to showcase the uniqueness of each couple.
Be sure to check out our entire selection of fancy colored sapphires for these beauties and more.