The Allure of Coloured Gemstones in High-End Jewellery


Summer 2024

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From the fiery red of rubies to the lush green of emeralds, gemstones add a touch of magic to jewellery that transcends trends. These baubles are not just loved for their inherent beauty but also for their kaleidoscopic hues, mystical properties, and rare formations. Steeped in history and loved by royalty, gemstones are making a resurgence in high-end jewellery.

Ahead, we delve into the world of coloured gemstones, exploring their history, rarity, symbolism, the impact of celebrity influence, and so much more.

Historical Significance
The fascination with coloured gemstones dates back to ancient civilizations where these precious stones were revered across cultures for their divine power and healing qualities. In ancient Egypt, for instance, emeralds were associated with rebirth, while in ancient Greece, amethysts were believed to protect against intoxication. Thousands of years later, coloured gemstones are gaining popularity in high-end jewellery not just as dainty accessories but also as talismans and amulets.

Unique Creations of Mother Earth
The story of a gem unfolds in the depths of the Earth’s crust, where minerals and geological processes conspire to create optimal conditions for their formation. These stones are then extracted from mine sites or alluvial deposits using labour-intensive traditional hand mining practices and modern methods that leverage technology and sustainability.

While certain gems surface relatively easily, others demand thorough exploration and excavation efforts. These rough stones are then cut, shaped, and polished before being used as embellishments in jewellery. Each gemstone is unique in its colour, saturation, and clarity, making it a true work of art.

Rarity and Exclusivity

Unlike diamonds, which are found in various locations around the world, certain coloured gemstones are only mined in specific regions. In Canada, the largest commercial operations are conducted for nephrite jade for which it is the world’s leading producer. This mesmerizing green gemstone is found in areas of British Columbia and the Yukon Territory.

Other popular gemstones like quartz, agate, and jasper are found in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, the Lake Superior region, Gaspé, and the Bay of Fundy, amethyst in Nova Scotia, and opal in the Okanagan, British Columbia. This limited availability makes them highly coveted, enhancing their desirability among discerning collectors and gemstone connoisseurs.

Symbolism and Personalization

The vibrant colours of gemstones evoke a sense of individuality—each stone carries its own distinct colour palette, allowing wearers to express themselves in a way that tells a unique story. Together, these stones compose a captivating spectrum, mirroring the innate beauty of our world.

Birthstones, for example, are gems associated with each month, believed to attract luck and protection to those born in that month. From the rich red of garnets for the January-born to the soothing blues of aquamarine for the March-born to the dreamy opulence of opal for the October-born, this personalization adds an emotional dimension to the jewellery, making it a meaningful keepsake for the wearer.

Plus, many high-end jewellery pieces are designed with specific gemstones to commemorate special occasions, anniversaries, or milestones in one’s life.

The Influence of Celebrity Endorsement
The allure of coloured gemstones in jewellery is also fuelled by the influence of royals and celebrities alike who frequently adorn themselves with striking creations, sparking interest in particular stones.

For instance, singer Ariana Grande and actress Emma Stone are known for their love of pearl rings. Actress Megan Fox’s engagement ring is set with a beautiful emerald. Musician Jennifer Lopez, engaged twice to actor Ben Affleck, wore a 6-carat pink diamond in 2002, and an 8-carat rare green diamond for their second engagement in 2021.

The iconic sapphire engagement ring worn by the late Princess Diana, now passed down to Kate Middleton, the Princess of Wales, is a testament to the enduring appeal of coloured gemstones in the world of high-profile jewellery. The ring features a 12-carat blue sapphire halo set with diamonds. In 1981, it was valued at $51,500, and today, the estimated worth of the ring is nearly $500,000!

In 2010, when Prince William proposed to Kate with his mother’s blue sapphire ring, the demand for sapphire engagement rings soared. This led to global jewellers scrambling to procure numerous blue sapphires to meet the surging market demand. Craftsmanship
Combining coloured gemstones with precious metals allows designers to push their creative boundaries and challenge themselves to create innovative and distinct designs. Whether it’s a blue sapphire set alongside diamonds (like the one worn by Princess Diana and Kate Middleton) or a pinkish orange padparadscha sapphire—one of the most expensive gemstones in the world—paired with gold, the possibilities are endless. This gives wearers and collectors a chance to own truly exceptional and artistic creations.

All in all, trends will come and go, but the timeless appeal of coloured gemstones ensures they will remain a staple in the world of high-end jewellery for years to come.

Shweta Gandhi | Contributing Writer

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