A violet/purple form of quartz. Once considered a precious gemstone and because of its colour, associated with Royalty and the clergy. Available in larger sizes. If you like the colour purple there is nothing better.
A blue form of beryl, available in pale, almost colourless ice blue to dark blue. Stones sometimes have a greenish tone. Available in large sizes and with good clarity. Darker stones are now rare and can be expensive.
A golden yellow to orange/brown form of quartz. Available in larger sizes. Popular in mid 20th century jewellery. Paler yellow quartz might be called lemon quartz. Inexpensive.
Once very popular, this beautiful, bright, gemstone, that comes in all shades on yellow, gold and citrus green has been overlooked for years. Very hard and durable it makes an excellent jewellery stone. A new, mint green variety has been discovered in East Africa. Alexandrite is the rarest form of chrysoberyl and is famed for its colour changing effects... green in daylight, red under incandescent light.
Probably the most famous and popular gemstone. Most commonly available in ‘shades of white’, they are also found in practically any colour, but intense colours are VERY expensive. Cognac and champagne shades are very reasonable priced.
The most famous member of the beryl group of gemstones. Available in all shades of green, from pale peppermint to intense grass green. Examples with good clarity are very rare, but stones are mostly valued for and by their colour, the more intense the green the better.
Fancy Sapphire
Any colour of sapphire, which is not blue, is called a ‘fancy colour sapphire’. The most common colours are pink, green and yellow, though it can be found in all shades of violet, purple and orange. Fine coloured examples that have not been artificially enhanced can be expensive.
Garnet refers to a broad range of stones. There are over 20 types of garnet and roughly 5 kinds are used as gemstones. Traditionally known as a brick red colour, garnets are also available in purple, pink, orange, yellow and green. See Spessartite and Tsavorite.
A blue or greenish blue form of tourmaline. Quite rare but has quite a unique colour, sometimes petrol blue. See Tourmaline.
Kunzite is most commonly rose pink, but can be fuschia pink in finer examples. Not a particularly durable stone, but can be very pretty and is available in quite large sizes. Kunzite is famous for being an excellent gemstone for evening wear as the crystals are slightly fluorescent.
Usually cut as cabochons, moonstones can be found in shades of white, grey, orange, brown and green. They are either milky with a satin-like lustre and star or cat’s eye effects or transparent with a magical blue flash floating inside the gem. Large, good quality examples are rare and can be surprisingly expensive.
A pink to orange/apricot-pink form of beryl. Has similar properties to aquamarine, to which it is closely related. Strong pink colour is now quite rare. Makes a very beautiful, feminine gemstone.
Opals occurs in a wide range of colours, (quite literally!) and the stronger and brighter the play of colour, the more valuable the stone. They are one of the more physically delicate gemstones and always need treating with care. ‘Fire opals’ are bright orange, orange-red or yellow with a slightly hazy lustre.
Cultured Pearls
All modern pearls are cultured in either salt or freshwater farms. A broad range of colours and sizes are now regularly available. Saltwater pearls are significantly more expensive than freshwater. Shape, colour and surface lustre have a big impact on price.
A stone with a bright, citrus, slightly olive green colour like no other gemstone. Large examples with intense colour look particularly striking.
The red to purple/pink-red form of tourmaline. Historically mistaken for fine rubies. Rare, but available in much larger sizes than rubies and make a good alternative if you want a red stone.
The form of corundum (sapphire) that is coloured red by the mineral chromium. An excellent gemstone, but finding fine coloured examples with high clarity that have not been chemically treated is difficult. The finest quality, natural stones are very expensive.
The traditional blue sapphire has been the principle blue jewellery stone for hundreds of years. Hard and very durable, they are excellent for jewellery that is to be warn regularly, like engagement rings. Available in all shades of blue, high quality examples are becoming scarce. See Fancy Sapphire.
A variety of garnet, available from bright orange through to red-orange and yellow. One of the best orange coloured stones.
An ancient and excellent gemstone, historically often mistaken for sapphire and ruby. Available in a broad range of colours from pink, purple, violet, blue and red - red being the most valuable. Suitable for all jewellery applications.
Discovered in Africa only in the last 50 years, tanzanite has quickly grown in popularity. The highest quality pieces are an intense, velvety, violet-blue, but cheaper examples are a paler, almost pure violet. Tanzanite stones usually have excellent clarity and can come in significant sizes. Considering its popularity, tanzanite is a surprisingly delicate stone.
Most commonly seen today as a blue stone, (a colour which is man made by heat treating and irradiation) in centuries past, topaz was prized for its warm yellow and sherry colours. Now, these colours are quite rare, but make excellent gemstones. The blue stones are available in large sizes for very reasonable prices.
Tourmaline is a complex group of minerals, three of which are used as gemstones. Available in literally every colour of the rainbow, they are growing in popularity. The shades of green and pink available are particularly superb. See Rubellite and Indicolite.
A green form of garnet, coloured by chromium (which also makes emeralds green). Generally cleaner, brighter and a more intense colour than emerald, they are also cheaper. A rare stone, there are only a handful of mines operating in East Africa. An excellent alternative to emerald.
Not to be confused with ‘cubic zirconia’ (CZ), the man made diamond substitute, zircon has had a long history as a gemstone and was once very popular. Today it is little known but comes in a beautiful range of colours and has fire and lustre to rival that of diamond. In my opinion it is greatly under valued.