Rich symbolism, intense color, and individual style

Diamonds are often described as a girls’ best friend, and rightly so! However recently colored gemstones are gaining in popularity. Celebrities like Victoria Beckham, Halle Berry, Elizabeth Hurley, and Penelope Cruz have been snapped flashing precious rainbow colored sparklers. The beautiful Mila Kunis is fronting as brand ambassador for colored gems for ethical mining company Gemfields, wearing spectacular rubies and emeralds and not a scrap of makeup.

The most iconic colored engagement ring in the world must be the sapphire ring Prince William gave Kate Middleton, once worn by Princess Diana. The British royals have an affinity for colored gemstones, with the Queen, the Queen Mother, Princess Anne, and the Duchess of York all wearing sapphires or rubies in their engagement rings.

More rare than diamonds

The Financial Times interviews international jewelry experts, including Sotheby’s senior international jewelry specialist, about the growing interest in colored gem stones. The newspaper also writes that the power trinity of precious colored stones, emeralds, rubies and blue sapphires, are seeing a renaissance, with sales increasing worldwide.

Many leading jewelry houses are creating collections showcasing colored gems. Oliver Reza of Paris jeweler Van, Cleef & Arpels praises the “beauty, mystery and complexities of great colored gems’” and remarks on the growing demand for colored gems from his discerning clients.

Famous jeweler Bulgari’s signature style is to mingle diamonds, rubies, sapphires and emeralds with semi-precious stones. They are renowned for the baroque intricacy of their creations. The renewed interest in colored gems has fired their creative juices, with their latest collections praised as daring and eclectic.

The meaning of jewels

Over the centuries the beauty and rarity of precious colored gems has captured our imagination, and we have endowed them with meaning. Each colored gemstone is rich in symbolism.

  • Ruby is a symbol of friendship and love.
  • Sapphires represent peace and happiness.
  • Topaz is meant to endow the wearer with strength and symbolizes purity and spirituality.
  • Emerald promotes balance and patience, and also represents faithfulness.

If you are interested in learning more, leading gemologist George Fredrick Kunz created a fascinating collection of gemstone lore in his 1913 book The Curious Lore of Precious Stones. Kunz was also the gem expert at Tiffany & Co. in New York, so he knew his topaz from his tourmaline.

Choose your gems with care

When choosing a colored gemstone that will hold its value, there are a number of things to consider. The key touchstones of color, cut, clarity, and carat weight apply.

  • Cut. Colored gems can be faceted in a multitude of geometric shapes, and different stones suit different treatments. Colored stones can even be carved for exquisite detail.
  • Color. Consider hue, tone and saturation.

            - Hue means the color of the stone e.g. red, blue, violet, green etc.

            -Saturation refers to the intensity and richness of the hue.

           -Tone means whether a stone is light or dark in color.

Personal style and preference are also paramount here, and if a particular gem appeals to you, that counts for just as much as rarity value.

  • Clarity. Unlike with diamonds, clarity is not always the most desirable attribute of a colored gemstone. Inclusions (internal features in a stone) can add their own character, and make a gem even more unique and beautiful.
  • Carat. Most gemstones are weighed and priced by the carat. (One carat equals 1/5 gram.)

Here is a great guide to choosing a quality colored gemstone created by the American Gem Trade Association. Ethan Lord can help you pick a stone as precious as it is beautiful, and safeguard the investment you make in an engagement ring.

Is a colored engagement ring right for your fiancée?

Colored gemstones are popular with sophisticated, creative women, who have a strong sense of personal style, and want their jewels to reflect their individuality.

Ethan Lord specializes in custom engagement rings and our consultants will be delighted to work with you to help you create a ring for your fiancée that is as unique as she is. We can make a ring with her birthstone, her favorite color, or create a ring that symbolizes the values at the heart of your relationship.

Call us to book a private consultation


Ethan Lord creates the finest custom jewelry in Chicagoland. 

The important moments in your life deserve exquisite one-of-a-kind jewels that will be cherished forever. We start with a private, in-depth consultation where we discover your vision for your jewelry. You may bring images or a drawing to show what you have in mind. We can also work with you to develop something completely unique.

For fine jewels for the precious moments in your life, call Ethan Lord on 312-443-1401 or email [email protected].