Learn About Color
We love color for a number of reasons. There is a rich diversity of colored gemstones offering many ways to speak to your own sense of fashion and personality. We love the vibrant colors which range across just about every hue and shade imaginable. Color adds life, energy, and is the perfect finishing touch to fine jewelry. Very often, a color gemstone can be the defining feature of a signature style. You’ll find a wealth of color in many of our designer collections from Penny Preville to David Yurman.
Below are some of our favorites and they represent what’s considered the modern list of color gemstones for each birth month. Looking for the perfect birthday or anniversary gift? This list should help.
Most people think of red when they think of Garnets. However, this gem is available in a rich palette of colors, and modern gem buyers will find Garnet’s in green, orange, pinkish orange, deep, saturated purplish reds, and even blue. Garnets have long been carried by travelers to protect against accidents far from home. With its stunning variety of colors and its mystical powers, it has been given as a gift for all occasions for centuries.
Amethyst was once considered as expensive as a ruby, until the 19th Century when large deposits of this beautiful purple gemstone were found in Brazil. With its purple to pastel hues, an Amethyst complements both warm and cool colors so it looks equally fabulous set in both yellow and white metals. This unique ability means it enhances almost every color in your wardrobe.
The name aquamarine speaks for itself and immediately conjures a stunning pastel sky blue or the bright color of the sea. Aquamarines are found in a wide range of blues; from pale pastel to greenish-blue to deep color. Darker shades of blue aquamarines are increasingly rare and, in turn, increase in value. Aquamarines frequently display their color as pastel in smaller sizes, but become more intense in larger gemstones.
One of nature’s most precious creations, diamonds have long been coveted and admired objects of desire. Formed far beneath the Earth’s surface over a billion years ago, diamonds are the hardest material on earth, 58 times harder than anything else in nature. Diamonds have a long history in folklore; some of which says diamonds were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks, while others say the gem possesses healing powers. Although it is the birthstone for April, and considered the gift to receive on your 60th and 75th Anniversary, diamonds have always been the perfect gemstone to give for any occasion. You can read more about diamonds here.
Cleopatra, Egypt’s tempestuous and powerful female monarch, was as famous for wearing emeralds in her time as Liz Taylor was for wearing diamonds in ours. The deeper and more vivid the color of green, the more valuable the Emerald. The most valuable and beautiful emeralds exhibit an intense bluish hue in addition to their bold green color. Emeralds, among the rarest of gems, are almost always found with birthmarks, known as inclusions. Some inclusions are expected and do not detract from the value of the stone.
If you love magic, especially the magic of science, you’ll love Alexandrite, which is a chameleon of a gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Indoors under lamplight, it is a red gem with a warm raspberry tone. You can watch it flick back and forth by switching from fluorescent to incandescent light. The value of Alexandrite increases as the color change becomes more distinct.
Renowned for its adularescence, this gemstone ranges from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink, and its clarity ranges from transparent to translucent. The best quality moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color. Found in India and Madagascar, the rainbow moonstone displays a variety of colors, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue. It is a favored gem of many Art Nouveau jewelry designers.
Pearls never go out of style and are one of the most loved gems in the world. Pearls can be both natural and cultured and are available in a wide array of colors. The most familiar are white and cream color, but the palette of colors available in a Pearl span nearly every hue. Natural pearls form around a microscopic irritant in the bodies of certain mollusks. Cultured pearls are the result of the deliberate insertion of a bead or piece of tissue that the mollusk coats with nacre.
The ruby represents love, passion, courage, and emotion and can command the highest per carat price of any colored gemstone. For centuries, this gem has been considered the king of all gems. Like most gemstones, the color of a ruby is its most important feature. Rubies are available in a range of red hues from purplish and bluish-red to orange-red. The brightest and most valuable color of ruby is often “a Burmese Ruby” – a rich, passionate, hot, full red color with a slight blue hue.
You may be surprised to learn most Peridot gemstones come from Arizona. They are also found in China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Found deep in the earth’s mantle, Peridot is available in several colors ranging from yellowish green to brown, but the bright lime green and olive green are the most desired. If you prefer citrus tones or earth tones, jewelry pieces featuring this gemstone would certainly suit you. Peridots smaller than three carats are very common but gemstones over five carats are rare, and therefore have a higher value.
The bright red color of Spinel is so closely related to the ruby that the two can be confused with one another. Spinel is actually rarer than ruby but, unlike ruby, they sometimes can be found in very large sizes. In addition to beautiful rich reds, spinel can be found in shades of orange and beautiful pastel pink, as well as purple. Of particular interest is a vivid, hot pink with a tinge of orange that is mined in Burma. This type of Spinel is one of the most spectacular gemstone colors and unlike any other gem. Spinel also comes in beautiful blues, but these are extremely rare. Many of the famous Rubies in history were actually Spinel!
When hearing the word sapphire, many people immediately envision a stunning violet-blue gemstone. Fittingly, the word sapphire is Greek for blue. The sapphire is found in many parts of the world, but the most prized sapphires are from Myanmar (Burma), Kashmir and Sri Lanka. Sapphires with highly saturated violet blue color and “velvety” or “sleepy” transparency are rare. The purer the blue of the sapphire, the greater the price. Sapphires are not only blue, they come in almost every color of the rainbow: pink, yellow, orange, peach, and violet colors.
In ancient times, the Opal was known as the Queen of Gems because it encompassed the colors of all other gems. Each opal is truly one-of-a-kind; as unique as our fingerprints. Some people prefer the calming flashes of blues and greens they see in opals; others love the bright reds and yellows. With its rainbow of colors, as you turn and move the Opal, the color plays and shifts, giving you a gem that can be worn with a plethora of ensembles. Since opals are the most individual gemstone with its range of colors, be sure to choose one that showcases your color preference and pattern.
Tourmaline is the second option if you have an October birthday. Available in a spectrum of colors and color combinations, tourmaline lives up to its name, which means “mixed stone”. You will find this beautiful gemstone in an array of colors from cranberry red, hot magenta, bubblegum pink, peach and orange, canary yellow, mint, grass and forest green, ocean blue, and violet. Tourmalines are also known for displaying several colors in one gemstone. With tourmaline available in so many colors, you’re sure to find one in your favorite color.
Citrine is the most popular and frequently purchased yellow colored gemstone. This bright shining gem was said to be a gift from the sun. The name “citrine”, which is French for “lemon” fits well with its color range of juicy lemon yellow to a bright orange-brown. Most people choose a Citrine based on their personal preference, but some of the most sought-after Citrine gemstones have a clear, radiant yellowish- to brownish-red color. It is relatively plentiful and available in a wide range of sizes and shapes, including very large sizes. These reasons make it a great gem for that big, bold, statement piece.
This stunning gemstone has an exceptional wide color range with shades of yellow, brown, honey, green, blue, red, pink and purple. When you think of Topaz, you generally think of an amber gold color. The most prized color of Topaz is called Imperial Topaz and features a magnificent orange with pink undertones. Blue, once the rarer color of topaz, is the most common today due to man’s ability to enhance its color. A Topaz with a naturally blue color is very rare.
Tanzanite is a unique gemstone found in only one place on Earth: the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. Tiffany & Co named this blue-violet variety of zoisite in honor of Tanzania, where it was first unearthed in 1967. One of today’s most popular blue gemstones, Tanzanite comes in a variety of shapes, sizes and striking assortments of violet blue to purple tones. Rarely pure blue, Tanzanite almost always displays its signature overtones of purple. In smaller sizes, tanzanite usually contains lighter tones and the lavender color is more common. While in larger sizes, tanzanite typically displays a deeper, richer, beautiful blue or violet blue.
Turquoise is among the oldest known gemstones and its popularity has spanned the globe for centuries. It can look very elegant but also looks great when worn in casual settings. Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue-green gem with its finest color being an intense blue. Its multi-layered history and color make it a desirable gem. And people value turquoise highly for its combination of ancient heritage and unforgettable color.
Zircon’s are a third alternative for the December birthstone. Most people think of a bright sky blue when they hear Zircon, but it is also available in beautiful earth tones of green, dark red, yellow, brown, and orange. Today, the most popular colors of Zircon are a vivid blue that resembles the bright Caribbean Sea. With its spectrum of beautiful colors, its rarity, and affordability, the Zircon is becoming even more popular today.