Ask any woman what her favorite gemstone is, and you’ll most likely receive replies that range from diamonds and emeralds, to rubies, amethysts — perhaps even the popular tourmaline. And as gorgeous as those are, we thought it was time for a few less well-known rocks to have their moment in the sun! Check out two gemstones we think will surprise you with their beauty, while leaving you “ooohing” and “ahhhing” for more!
The second biggest seller in 2014, sapphires have always been a favorite gem. Blue ones, that is.But sapphires can also be found in yellow, white, green, purple, black and…drum roll please…a gorgeous, deep PINK.
Sapphires deepen in color as the quantity of chromium in them increases. In a pink sapphire, the deeper the pink color, the higher their monetary value, as long as the color trends toward the red of rubies. Second in hardness only to diamonds, sapphires are perfect for everyday jewelry and we think you’ll find pink sapphires quite the conversation piece!
Perhaps you haven’t heard of this brilliant beauty, but tsavorite garnet is type of stone in the “grossular” group, which is comprised of calcium and aluminium. Named in honor of the world famous Tsavo National Park in Africa, this gem’s homelands between Kenya and Tanzania have been the primary source of tsavorite since it was first discovered in 1967.
Tsavorite garnet’s rich green color make it almost mistakable for an emerald – until you sigh in relief at its far less-expensive price tag. A gemstone with a robust hardness, tsavorite is unlike many others in that it is neither burnt nor oiled for its shine. Any such improvements or alterations are unnecessary, as tsavorite garnet is a pure piece of Mother Nature in its natural state.
With no shortage of stores and independent jewelers to purchase your precious gems and jewelry from, how can you know that who you are working with is truly the professional they say they are?
Here are four tips to tuck away when your jewels are on the table:
1. Pushiness: Have you ever felt the hair on the back of your neck stand up when you enter a jewelry store, like an antelope amongst cheetahs? Many larger stores are commission-driven, with inventory they need to sell right out of the case and quotas to fulfill. If you are leaning toward one-of-a-kind or custom, you may consider switching it up this time. An excellent alternative is to sit down with a trained designer & gemologist to help you bring your jewelry to life instead of settling with a mass-produced piece, often not made in the USA. A salesperson will certainly offer to make your jewelry, but most salespeople are not seasoned designers or certified gemologists!
2. Full disclosure: When you invest in jewelry, your questions should be answered honestly and accurately. Is your amethyst lab-created or treated? What is the quality of the diamond or gem? Are you leaving with assurance that your jewelry is of the quality that you paid for?
*This is where the gemologist in me has to insert a sidebar. I implore you to take extreme caution if you have your heart set on buying fine jewelry on a cruise or tourist destination outside the US. The standards and regulations that protect the buyer in the US do not apply in many other countries. Despite how fancy the place appears or what the nice salespeople in port will tell you, you most likely are not getting a deal. Even worse, you may be getting something completely different than what you think ~ and the salesperson is not worried because they are pretty sure they will never see you again! And that phone number they give you to (often a US number), is just another sales tactic.
Okay, back to our regularly scheduled programming…
3. Stone-switching: When you take your beautiful diamond engagement ring to be cleaned — the one that your husband carefully chose for you and put on your finger on your wedding day — are you comfortable leaving it to chance that your stone will be the one returned to you? It happens. We want to assume the best in everyone, but when you hear the story of a disreputable jeweler, it gives the industry a bad rap. Take some time to get to know the character of the person you are working with.
4. Expertly Trained: What makes your jeweler an expert? Look for — and ask for — signs of certification of their industry experience to feel comfortable that this isn’t just another career stop. Working with a designer who is an artist over just a one-stop-shop can produce a truly exquisite piece that will become heirloom jewelry to enjoy for years to come.
Jennifer Briggs Jenkins
Bachelor of Fine Art, Metalsmithing & Jewelry Design
Certified Gemologist, Gemological Institute of America