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I like this color – what’s my gem?

Posted by Yvonne Raley on

I know a lot of us women (and some men, even) strive to be color coordinated.  And this puts certain demands on jewelry.  It had better match!  For this reason, and because we all have our favorite colors, I’ve been asked to supply a list of available gemstones by color.  So here’s my shortlist, together with some brief observations about each stone:
Red
1. Garnet: deep red to pinkish red to pink, the dark reds can look sooty at night; look for shallow cuts to get good color
2. Ruby: pigeon blood red (rare, very expensive) to pinkish red, if too pinkish then its pink sapphire (the line can be fuzzy, the price won’t be, ruby costs way more than pink sapphire)
3. Fire Opal: will mostly tend towards orange color, tomato red is available but tough to find
4. Spinel: true red to pink but also available in blues and purples, the red is the most expensive
Burma Spinel, Red
Pink, Pinkish Red
1. Tourmaline: deep to light raspberry colors, sometimes light rose pink
2. Pink Sapphire: very similar to pink tourmaline, so beware
3. Rose Quartz: very light rose pink, can look extremely washed out in small sizes
4. Garnet: the rubellite version is pinkish and looks very much like pink tourmaline also
Purple
1. Amethyst: I guess you know what that looks like
2. Iolite: more indigo, think “blue jeans”
3. Spinel: various shades of pink to purplish pink, sometimes orange pink
4. Tanzanite: light lavender to dark lavender, almost all of it is heated
5. Sapphire: light to dark lavender with a lot of blue, hard to find, very expensive but gorgeous
Natural Purple Ceylon Sapphire
Orange-Red, Orange
1. Fire Opal: red to orange to yellow, almost always has a milky appearance
2. Tanzanian Sapphire: occasionally with pink overtones, mostly heated to obtain color
3. Spessartite (Mandarin) garnet: rich medium orange color, sometimes brownish (less desirable), often lightly included
4. Precious (Imperial) Topaz: pinkish orange, hard to find
5. Padparadscha Sapphire (natural): fuhgettaboutit
Yellow
1. Citrine: warm yellow to brown tones, but its mostly heated amethyst
2. Lemon quartz: that’s heated quartz, very light and washed out, blah looking
3. Yellow Beryl: belongs with aqua and emerald, mostly sunflower red and slightly satiny in appearance
4. Chrysoberyl: belongs with alexandrite despite the name, has a crisper and more lemony appearance than yellow beryl
5. Sapphire: warmer yellow tones, sometimes with pink in them, often heated Tanzanian
6. Ceylon sapphire: lighter yellow to sunflower yellow, sometimes with hints of vanilla
7. Fire opal: see above
Blue
1. Sapphire: see my September blog entry on sapphire, and some pics; comes in anything from light blue to royal blue to cornflower blow to greenish blue
2. Kyanite: not expensive but hard to find faceted; royal blue, sometimes streaky looking
3. Tourmaline: the blues are mostly indicolite, and always with secondary hues of green
4. Aquamarine: very light pastel blue, often washed out, with minimal overtones of green
5. Blue Topaz: the Swiss and London blue topaz are heated and irradiated, natural blue topaz is very light powder blue without green in it
6. Zircon: think aquamarine but with more sparkle, more color intensity, and a touch more secondary hues of green
7. Spinel: mostly grayish blue, with a lot of sparkle
Blue-Green and Turqoise
1. Paraiba Tourmaline: awesome turquoise color but only for the rich
2. Tourmaline: ranges from turquoise to greenish blue to bluish green to forest and olive; almost any blue-green and green is available
3. Apatite: turquoise (but also available in greenish tones), great alternative to Paraiba tourmaline, but softer to work with
Green
1. Peridot: grass with olives, always with secondary hues of yellow
2. Emerald: true green, sometimes with more blue in it, sometimes washed out, the most desirable color being grassy green with a tiny touch of blue
3. Tourmaline: chrome and forest greens are the nicest colors here, but olive greens are also available at a lower price
4. Tsavorite Garnet: another true shade of green, but livelier and more brilliant than emerald; grassy green but no olives, the darker colors are the most desirable
5. Chrome Diopside: dark grassy green, easy to confuse with tsavorite, but with a hair more yellow in it
6. Green Amethyst: that is heated amethyst, looks very washed out and fades over time; not recommended
Tsavorite Garnet
Brown
1. Natural topaz: very light brown with pinkish overtones
2. Brown Zircon: rich medium brown with honey
3. Smoky Quartz: the name says it.  (Smoky topaz = smoky quartz)
Refuses to be Pinned Down
1. Alexandrite: bluish green by day, reddish green by night, sometimes also purplish
2. Color Change Garnet: greenish brown to reddish pink
3. Andalusite: mostly brown but with green and pink secondary hues, depending on the light
4. Labradorite: dark background, iridescent with mostly blues and greens
5. Moonstone: light background, iridescent with blues, some greens
6. Opal: clear with lots of play of any color (= very pricey) to milky white with little play of any color (much less expensive); beware of doublets or triplets (opal glued to a dark background)
Alexandrite from India
And that’s not the end of it, but it will do.

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