Birth stone for March : Aquamarine

Aquamarine is Latin for ‘water of the sea’ and what a perfect description of the colour of the stone.  

Naturally, the stone should be a seawater colour, with dark blue being the most admired. Less fine quality stones are often heated to turn them to a stronger blue and fashion has influenced this by making the stronger blue more desirable than the natural blue/green of the stone. 

The stone is quite hard, (moh’s scale 71/2 -8) however it is brittle and can be known to chip.  If worn in a ring it is best for special occasions or delicate wear…not gardening and washing up! 

As part of the beryl family, Aquamarine has the same chemical construction (aluminium beryllium silicate) as Emeralds, Morganite (soft pink), golden beryl and Heliodor….so how come they all are different colours I hear you ask?  Well, Emerald’s colouring agent is chrome, Aquamarine’s colouring agent is iron….(there can be green beryl’s that are not green because of chrome but because of vanadium and therefore they can never be called an Emerald). It’s all back to the mix of ingredients when these rocks are formed.

Queen Elizabeth II Aquamarine, Diamond and Platinum necklace

All this may be a bit confusing…but in the silicate slush in the centre of the earth these are the chemicals that naturally may or may not be present….it is like the earth’s natural larder…and what is available that day will dictate the colour and type of stone that is the result.

scissor_cut_aquamarine_and_diamond_ringSassalina-Pendant-1aquamarine_stud_earringsIf you are born in march you are lucky enough to claim Aquamarine as your birth stone…however as there are no rules.  If this is your favourite colour you can still treat yourself to one of these beauties!! Just remember – even though white diamonds complement the Aqua very well…you can be more adventurous as you can see with the gorgeous orange of these hessonite garnets…

aquamarine_and_hessonite_garnet_ring

 

Sarah x

 

 

 

Advertisements

Red Carpet glamour

As we are now in the thick of awards season, we thought we’d report on the glamour and razzmatazz, in particular the beautiful jewellery we see gracing the red carpet.

The Brits, Golden Globes, Grammy’s, Oscars…it’s all about making an entrance! These statement jewels from some of the worlds top jewellery houses are designed to make a big impact and grab headlines around the world.

Strong colour is clearly of huge importance this year – luscious red rubies…deep violet blue sapphires…forest green emeralds and warm golden yellow diamonds and citrines. As a Gemologist my eye often passes over the reams of white diamonds (even though the sheer size and quantity is breath taking) for the coloured stones which are truly individual hues of colour, size and shape….

There are a couple of US designers who always impress me…Lorraine Schwatrz being one and the incredible columbian Emeralds on Jaimie Alexander really are special, so rare to find a collection with such strong colour ….I also love the work from a jeweller called Martin Katz who is so brave with colour combinations…..in the real world these stones are hard to find and phenomenally out of budget for the majority of us and therefore during the awards season we get to sit back and enjoy the display!!

golden globes emerald

Jaimie Alexander

golden globes 2016

Cannes 2015_Chopard_Lea Seydoux.jpg--760x0-q80-crop-scale-subsampling-2-upscale-false

Léa Seydoux

Grammys-Red-Carpet-2016-taylor

Taylor Swift

Pearls are big for 2016 and bang on trend with these gobstopper pearl and diamond earrings is the legend that is Jane Fonda…

chopard-jane-fonda-golden-globes.jpg--760x0-q80-crop-scale-subsampling-2-upscale-false

Jane Fonda

There is no point in going small when you’re on the red carpet…!

golden globes.jpg

Taraji Henson

And of course there are always ice cool diamonds in their pure and natural gorgeousness..

Best-Golden-Globe-Jewelry-2016-1200x608

Lady Gaga / Jennifer Lawrence / Jennifer Lopez

mirren globes

Helen Mirren

Sarah x

 

The mighty Corundum and its Sapphire and Ruby offspring

WHAT-COLOR-IS-SAPPHIRE

Colour spectrum: corundum

Colour spectrum: corundum

Corundum

A word which I’m sure many people glance over and read as conundrum…unless explained you could end up none the wiser!!

Corundum is a species of gemstone which includes both sapphires and rubies as they are essentially the same chemical construction… AL2O3 for nerds like me!  It is a 9 on Mohs scale and therefore the second hardest material after diamonds ….very useful for making great rings that can be worn everyday. Also useful to know is that when red the stones are known as Rubies, with the remainder being called Sapphires. A very high proportion of coloured stones being sold in jewellery shops all over the UK have been heated to improve the colour…..jewellers should declare if this has happened but sadly many retailers are not gemmologists and do not know how to tell the difference…high quality untreated stone are more valuable and I often sell these stones with a certificate to state this.

Rubies

If you are lucky enough to be born in July then rubies are your birthstone and are considered the king of gems and represent love, health and wisdom. It was believed wearing a fine red ruby bestowed good fortune on its owner. Ruby and Diamond cocktail ring

Ruby and Diamond cocktail ring which was a birthday gift made all the more special as their daughter is called Ruby… the pendant was created from a lonely earring when its’ pair was lost.

Ruby and Diamond Pendant

Ruby and Diamond Pendant

Rubies vary from pinkish to purplish or brownish or bluish red, depending on the chromium or iron content of the stone. What is interesting is that aluminium oxide, with very small amounts of chromium, creates pure pink sapphires…as the chromium level increases you move towards rubies….it is strength and depth of colour, as well as the clarity, that determines the price of the stone, however, with just the right level of chromium and a tiny bit of iron the really beautiful and very rare padparadscha pink/orange stone is formed. Ruby drop pair

Unheated Ruby drop pair…currently available for sale…would make stunning earrings!

Sapphires

Many of my clients are so surprised that sapphires come in such a variety of colours…other colouring agents are iron and titanium for blue, vanadium for violet and orange and a small iron content results in yellow and green tones….

I enjoy stones almost every day of my life and some really special ones haunt me forever….There are so many colours to choose from, which makes it difficult to pick out my favourite, however, this amazing 14ct lilac sapphire was one that I did manage to keep…On my website you can also see a lovely ring made of two tone green sapphires set in rose gold which I made for an engagement ring …untreated_lilac_sapphire_and_trapezoid_diamond_ring

Untreated Lilac Sapphire and Trapezoid Diamond ring

Sadly the retail high street has such a limited colour range of sapphires on show…..I find my clients adore the individual beauty and enormous colour range on offer when making a bespoke piece of jewellery with me, exactly the perfect colour for you. After almost 10 years of making bespoke jewellery I am almost convinced that the stone chooses the wearer.

Sarah x

images via sassalina.com and gemhub.com

The allure of coloured Diamonds

Diamonds have been fascinating mankind since these precious stones were first discovered, as early as 3000 B.C. in India.  Collected, treasured and sought-after, they became symbols of power and wealth – desired more than any other gemstone.  Over the centuries, mining has yielded mostly colourless diamonds with a dizzying array of size, shape and clarity…and for these stones the less hint of colour – the more desirable and valuable the stone.

As well as colourless diamonds, nature has given us coloured diamonds, with the same qualities of hardness and refraction as their colourless cousins but in addition they are enhanced by an amazing spectrum of colour….every coloured diamond has it’s own individual hue…which is what makes them so unique and so captivating.

Recently in the news we learnt of two showstopping coloured diamonds going up for auction, both bought by the same Hong Kong based buyer!

The 12.03 carat, internally flawless Blue diamond known as ‘Blue Moon’ was bought for an eye-watering £32 million…and renamed ‘Josephine’ in honour of his 7 year-old daughter.

Blue Moon diamond

Blue Moon diamond

David Bennett, the head of Sotheby’s international jewellery division, said the “Blue Moon” sale broke several records and made the gemstone the most expensive diamond, regardless of colour, and the most expensive jewel ever sold at auction. It also fetched the highest-ever price per carat, he said.

So why the amazingly high price tag??  Coloured diamonds account for a very small percentage of natural diamonds, and those with strong colour saturation are an extremely rare occurrence.  Blue diamonds are formed when Boron is mixed with Carbon when the gem is created and only a tiny fraction of diamonds mined are found with traces of blue, let alone one with such a vivid hue.

The same buyer also bought 16.08 carat vivid-pink diamond for £19 million just the night before!  It is the largest cushion-shaped fancy vivid-pink diamond ever to come to auction…this one is now called ‘Sweet Josephine’

Sweet Josephine rare pink diamond

‘Sweet Josephine’ rare pink diamond

Josephine is one lucky 7 year-old girl!!

Further reading:  Forever Brilliant: The Aurora Collection of Colored Diamonds by Alan Bronstein

forever brilliant image

xx