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Colored Gemstone Engagement and Wedding Rings

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The Jewelry Hut
Engagement and Wedding Rings
The Buying Guide

Engagement Rings and Wedding Rings through the Ages

The allure of colored gemstone in Betrothal rings

Fascination with colored gemstones dates back to the very beginning of civilization.  Long before the discovery of diamonds, the blue sapphire evoked visions of heaven; the red ruby was a reminder of the very essence of life. As early as Roman times, rings containing colored gemstones were prized as symbols of power and friendship.  In fact, the most powerful; and the most beloved, wore rings o every joint of every finger, reflecting the status of their position!
As betrothal rings, colored gemstones also hold an illustrious position.  In addition to the beauty of particular colors, certain powers attributed to certain colored gems made them not only beautiful but also meaningful choices.  We see many examples of colored gemstones in engagement and wedding rings, from many centuries ago to the present, used both alone and in combination with diamonds.
Following the discovery of diamonds in South Africa, which made diamonds more widely available and affordable, colored gemstones were briefly ignored during the earlier part of this century.  While there always been people who preferred colored gemstones despite the trends, colored gemstone engagement rings have only recently reemerged as a choice for the modern bride. The selection of a sapphire and diamond engagement ring by His Royal highness Prince Charles for lady Diana, followed not long thereafter by his brother Prince Andrew’s selection of a ruby and diamond engagement ring for Sarah Ferguson, sparked a revival of interest in colored gemstones for the bride to be.
While rubies, sapphires and emeralds have historically been among the most coveted gems, particularly for important occasions, there are many alternatives in colored gems for today’s bride, depending on budget and personal connection to bride herself. Keep in mind that most birthstones come in several colors. You may be surprised to learn that the color you associate with your birthstone may be only one of several colors in which the gemstone occurs. For example, most people think garnet is dark red and are surprised to learn it can be emerald green, mandarin orange, yellow, white, purple; virtually every color in the rainbow except blue. If you have discarded the birthstone as a choice because you don’t care  for its color, check out all the colors in which it may be available before making a decision.  Some colors in a particular gem may be rarer and less readily available and often costlier than better known colors, but your jeweler can work with you to discover your alternatives. One can combine a birthstone with diamonds, blending the symbolism of diamonds with the personal significance of the birthstone for a lovely, deeply meaningful, and often much more affordable ring.
In addition to birth gemstones, the choice of a particular colored gemstone may be connected to mystical powers, attributes, or symbolism with which the gemstone has been historically identified.  There is an almost limitless wealth of information about colored gems, enough to stir the imagination of even the greatest cynic.

  • Love rings and “Sentimental” jewelry
    Throughout history, colored gemstones set in rings and other jewelry have carried  hidden messages.  We are seeing similar pieces being produced today. For example, a ring containing diamond, emerald, amethyst, ruby, emerald, sapphire, and topaz, arranged in that order, spells the word “dearest” if one takes the first letter of each word, thus carrying the sentiment that wearer is more dear than any other to the giver; a ring containing pearl, ruby, emerald, and sapphire spells “pres,” which, in French, means “near” and suggests that the wearer is always near to the giver; amethyst, moonstone, opal, ruby, and emerald spells “amore,” which is Italian for “love.” And so on. Such a ring can create a wonderful, “sentimental” engagement ring.

Choosing the shape of a gemstone

Today’s bride to be has more choices in engagement ring design and style than ever before. But the first step in creating the look you want is selecting the shape of the gemstone, A shape that is right for you.  There are many shapes from which to choose, but it’s important to choose the right shape because it will affect the overall design and look of your ring.

  • Modern diamond shapes

    Round brilliant

    Pear
    shape

    Marquise shape

    Oval
    shape

    Emerald shape

    Heart
    shape

    Princess shape

    Radiant shape

    Asscher Shape

    Cushion
    Shape


    In choosing a design that suits, taste, budget, and personality, one of the first steps is to decide on the diamond shape you want.  Today, in addition to classic, round shape, there are many popular “fancy” shapes from which to choose.
    As mentioned earlier, there are many exciting shapes, as well as the traditional “fancy” shapes; any shape other than a round, brilliant cut.  Some of the new shapes lend themselves to very distinctive designs that would be difficult to create with other shapes; some exhibit unique personalities, not possible in any other; and some can even help you stay within your budget (some appear larger, for their weight, than traditional cuts, enabling you to get the size you want in a diamond that actually weighs less than you might have thought you need). One of the most exciting parts of searching for your ring is discovering what is really available today!
    You should keep in mind, however, that fancy shapes, new and old, can be vary in their width and length, and in their basic proportioning, and these differences can result in a totally different look and feel on your hand. For example, an emerald cut diamond that is in a very long shape will look very different from one that is more squarish; a broad shouldered pear shape might look too triangular for the hand, while one with softer, more rounded shoulders might be just what what you want.  To some extent, the choice of shape is a very personal matter, and there is no standard “ideal” range that is applied to shapes other than round, but you must be careful that the stone is not cut in such a way that is liveliness and brilliance is reduced or adversely affected.
    As you begin to look at diamonds, try on all of the shapes; you may discover you like a shape you might not have considered otherwise!  Try them in solitaire style (a single diamond at the center) and in designs that incorporate diamond accents or colored gemstone and diamond accents. It won’t be long before you have a clear idea of the shape that best suits your personal style and taste, the shape that you really like best.
  • Popular gemstone cuts frequently used as side gemstone for accent

    Taper
    baguette

    Straight
    baguette

    Trilliant
    shape


    In addition to the fancy shapes described above, there are several cuts that are frequently used as side accents. The most popular include straight baguettes, tapered baguettes, trilliant, and princess.  There are also “specialty” cuts that are used to create very distinctive rings.  These unusual shapes include half-moon shapes, trapezoids, kite shape, and bullets, and can be especially lovely accents with colored gemstones and diamonds.
    Baguettes have been popular for many years and create a very traditional look. In both straight and tapered shapes, they are understated and serve simply to lead the eye to the important center stone.  Today there are also “brilliant cut” baguettes; both straight and tapered, which some people prefer to use with a “brilliant cut” center gemstone; the overall impression across the top of the ring is then more uniformly brilliant.
    Tapered or straight baguettes, used creatively, make elegant choices for diamonds or colored gemstones.
    The trilliant is a relative newcomer that has quickly become one of the most popular choices to create an elegant and classic look.  It is a triangular shape that has been cut with extra facets to create tremendous brilliance and liveliness.  The trilliant, because it is cut from a very flat piece of diamond rough, also gives a very large look for its actual weight.  It provides an important look to balance a large center stone, within a reasonable budget.  They are popular choices to use with diamonds or colored gemstones.
    The
    princess cut is also very popular as a choice for side stones, especially for channel set or bezel set designs.
    Again, the use of side gemstones to accent a center stone (diamond or colored gemstone), and the shape of the side stone, is a matter of personal choice.  In addition to the shapes mentioned here, almost any of the other popular shapes can be found in small sizes and can be used to create an interesting and distinctive ring.
  • Popular shapes in colored gems
    Colored gems can be found in any of the shapes described for diamonds. In addition, they are often seen in cushion cut, a modified oval. Keep in mind that some gems are more easily found in particular shapes than in others. For example, emeralds are most often seen in a rectangular shape (actually called “emerald cut”) because this is the shape that tends to present emerald to its best advantage. In addition, natural crystal shape of emerald lends itself particularly well to a rectangular shape. Rubies and sapphires are often seen in the cushion cut.  This is due in part to the shape of rough rubies and sapphires, but also to the fact that this cut seems to reveal the rich, lush color of these gemstones more fully than other cuts. Thus, it may be very difficult to find a sapphire or ruby in an emerald cut. Once again, your choice is very much a personal matter, but be aware that it may be very difficult, or impossible, to find certain types of gemstones in certain shapes.

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To Web Masters:

The article above can be used on your web site or newsletter.

When it is published, May I request that you include my name and resource box (the bio., contact and copyright information that follows the article.  I would also appreciate if you could send me an e-mail of notification along with a complimentary copy of publication.

Bijan Aziz is the owner and Web Master for The Jewelry Hut.

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