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Which stone for which color?

AmeliaG

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Since coming to PS, I never realized so many colored stones come in so many different colors.

Sapphires come in blue, pink, yellow, green
Garnets come in red, green, orange, brown, peach
Spinels come in pink, purple, red, blue, green
Tourmalines come on pink, red, green, orange

I'm intentionally leaving out diamonds because except for kenny, I don't know if most of us can afford colored diamonds on a regular basis. I'll just have to live vicariously from his gorgeous pics.

So, Pricescopers, when its time to make your colored gem purchase, how do you decide which stone to pick? Wanna blue stone? Sapphires can do it but so can spinels. If you like green, you've got your pick from sapphires, garnets, spinels or tourmalines.

Decisions, decisions. I know cost is a factor but there must be others. Does one stone's blue do something for you that the other stones don't? Does hardness/durability come into play (like for rings)?

What other factors influence your decision and have you regretted any colored gem purchase thinking, 'Oh, I should have gone for..."
 

athenaworth

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I picked a blue sapphire because it was going to go into my old ering setting. I thought about looking for a blue spinel or something along those lines, but decided that for that setting I wanted the best I could get,for sentimental reasons. Otherwise I just go for the colors that move me, and so far it seems like it's all about tourmalines.
 

ZestfullyBling

Ideal_Rock
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I can't comment on which color for which stone. Im still learning. I look for luster and faceting in a CS!!! In whatever color it comes in. :naughty: :wacko:
 

Upgradable

Ideal_Rock
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I find color is the #1 criteria for me. Though blue can be found in sapphire, spinel, and tourmaline, all have different tones. So I choose the one that speaks to me.

The thing of 2nd importance is hardness of the stone. If I'm planning on making a ring I need a stone that is high on the mohs scale. If I'm doing earrings or necklace I can go with softer stones which usually gives me more options in color.

Third is inclusions. As a rule I don't like eye visible inclusions, but if the color is amazing, or if it is a stone that inclusions are an acceptable consequence (like emerald) then I'm more flexible.

Fourth is cut. My biggest criteria is symmetry and minimum windowing when set. I actually really appreciate a "native cut" more than many.

My suggestion is get a chance to view as much as you can, read CS as much as you can, and then just dive in!!
 

T L

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I will buy a colored stone based on the following

1) Moderately strong to vivid saturation of color for the species, although finding vivid stones is extremely rare, unless you have deep pocketbooks and good connections.
2) A higher RI than that of tourmaline, aqua, and other "glassy" stones
3) Good durability (I prefer stones with a hardness of 7 or above)
4) Lack of treatment, other than simple heat, and the treatment must be detectable
5) Must be a fair price per carat.
6) Tone must be a medium shade (medium light, medium, medium dark)
7) Must hold it's saturation, or not drastically lose saturation in various light sources. I don't care about color shifting as much as the loss of saturation.

Although I love violet stones, I am always on the look out for something that meets the above criteria, no matter the hue. However, some hues I prefer stronger saturation in (like red) than others (like blue). I'm always willing to give into a less saturated violet stone, for example, than a red one, which of course, leaves red ones out of my price range most of the time.

Cutting isn't as important to me as it is to others. If I can find a stone that meets the above criteria, I consider myself very lucky. Actually, most precision cut gems don't meet the above criteria for me, and the ones that do, are snatched up in a nanosecond. :oops:

Inclusions don't bother me at all, unless they really distract from the stone to the point where it's translucent, and it's a gem that's meant to be crystal. I like inclusions as they can make a gem more affordable. They also help to identify some gems as untreated and/or natural (not synthetic).
 

FrekeChild

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I buy what I like. Usually that means spinel. Second most purchased is definitely tourmaline. After that...doesn't matter, so long as I like the stone.

Oh and sapphires can be any color.
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
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Jan 8, 2011
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Umm, this may be a case where I was so verbose, my original question got lost. Maybe its better if I give an example.

Say you're in the market for a transparent blue stone. How do you choose which stone to get? You can choose a sapphire, spinel, tourmaline.

If you're not into blue stones, just substitute your favorite color.

Or maybe people don't buy colored stones like that. I just knew that I wanted a blue stone and I found some amazing pics of Asscher sapphires and I didn't find anything similar for any other stone. I knew sapphires were harder than any other stone other than diamond so its a good choice for a ring (I plan to wear it every day). The perceived value of sapphires was also important but not overly so; I wanted my first CS purchase to be a more universally recognized precious gem but if I had found an amazing looking spinel cut with a better color, I would have gone for the spinel. Because of the perceived value thing, I also wanted one that was untreated.
 

T L

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AmeliaG|1310783234|2970159 said:
Umm, this may be a case where I was so verbose, my original question got lost. Maybe its better if I give an example.

Say you're in the market for a transparent blue stone. How do you choose which stone to get? You can choose a sapphire, spinel, tourmaline.

If you're not into blue stones, just substitute your favorite color.

Or maybe people don't buy colored stones like that. I just knew that I wanted a blue stone and I found some amazing pics of Asscher sapphires and I didn't find anything similar for any other stone. I knew sapphires were harder than any other stone other than diamond so its a good choice for a ring (I plan to wear it every day). The perceived value of sapphires was also important but not overly so; I wanted my first CS purchase to be a more universally recognized precious gem but if I had found an amazing looking spinel cut with a better color, I would have gone for the spinel. Because of the perceived value thing, I also wanted one that was untreated.

Well, sapphire and spinel meet my criteria for a blue stone more than tourmaline as of late, so I would focus on those.

Normally, I don't always look for a specific color or gem species. I went to the last Intergem show looking for a setting actually, and I ended up with a mint garnet and a hot pink spinel pair. :???:

While sapphires typically have more saturated blue color than spinels, I have some rocking blue/violet spinels that I would take over most sapphires any day. They are also more dispersive than sapphires, and that just tugs on my purse strings. That's why I always go for a fine spinel when I can find one, which isn't always easy to do, but I love the hunt!
 

LD

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AmeliaG|1310783234|2970159 said:
Umm, this may be a case where I was so verbose, my original question got lost. Maybe its better if I give an example.

Say you're in the market for a transparent blue stone. How do you choose which stone to get? You can choose a sapphire, spinel, tourmaline.

If you're not into blue stones, just substitute your favorite color.

Or maybe people don't buy colored stones like that. I just knew that I wanted a blue stone and I found some amazing pics of Asscher sapphires and I didn't find anything similar for any other stone. I knew sapphires were harder than any other stone other than diamond so its a good choice for a ring (I plan to wear it every day). The perceived value of sapphires was also important but not overly so; I wanted my first CS purchase to be a more universally recognized precious gem but if I had found an amazing looking spinel cut with a better color, I would have gone for the spinel. Because of the perceived value thing, I also wanted one that was untreated.


I don't buy like that. I buy for colour alone and I don't actually go out to buy a stone of certain colour. I am normally looking for a particular gemstone i.e. sapphire, alexandrite, tsavorite garnet, colour change garnet, ruby etc etc. My other buying criteria is to determine what I want it for i.e. an every day ring or an occasional RHR or a pendant or earrings. Finding a gemstone that is durable enough for every day wear limits the search and soft gemstones are generally better as pendants or earrings.

The problem with looking for a "blue" stone is that blue comes in many different variations. For example, you have neon blue for Tourmaline, the blue of a sapphire that can range from a hint of blue to almost looking black. Then trying to find a blue spinel is like trying to find hen's teeth and if I want a blue garnet I've got to have money in the bank! Iolites in blue are easy to find and tanzanites are fairly easy to source.
 

deorwine

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Hardness is my first criterion. I just don't buy stones that are less than hardness 7, and I'd prefer them to be tough as well. So I don't buy tanzanite at all; I tend not to buy iolite or zircon; and so on. The reason is that I abuse my stones... not intentionally, but I drop them and one of them even went through the washing machine (ouch)... and when they get set, they tend to get set in rings and knocked about more.

Then, when can I find the color I want for the cheapest price? I tend to want medium bright blues with not much grey, which is waaaaay easier to find in sapphire than in spinel or tourmaline (not that you can't find them; is it Chrono who has that spectacular cobalt spinel? but very hard to find!) -- or medium light saturated reds, which are easier to find in spinel and cheaper to find in garnet (if you can find garnet that light, which has been problematic for me) than in ruby; or medium saturated greens, which are cheaper in tsavorite than in emerald... etc.

Sometimes I get captivated by sparkliness. The sparkliness of spinel and tsavorite really captivated me. I think tourmaline's low sparkle factor may be a reason why I don't own any (though also because I can't find it easily in the saturated colors I want).
 

AmeliaG

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I figured maybe a lot of people don't buy like me. :lol: In truth, I was more sold on a sapphire too, I wouldn't have looked at any other stone if I hadn't heard of all the variations of blue stones.

TL|1310785961|2970183 said:
While sapphires typically have more saturated blue color than spinels, I have some rocking blue/violet spinels that I would take over most sapphires any day. They are also more dispersive than sapphires, and that just tugs on my purse strings. That's why I always go for a fine spinel when I can find one, which isn't always easy to do, but I love the hunt!

LovingDiamonds|1310852089|2970528 said:
The problem with looking for a "blue" stone is that blue comes in many different variations. For example, you have neon blue for Tourmaline, the blue of a sapphire that can range from a hint of blue to almost looking black. Then trying to find a blue spinel is like trying to find hen's teeth and if I want a blue garnet I've got to have money in the bank! Iolites in blue are easy to find and tanzanites are fairly easy to source.

deorwine|1310874630|2970664 said:
I tend to want medium bright blues with not much grey, which is waaaaay easier to find in sapphire than in spinel or tourmaline (not that you can't find them;

deorwine|1310874630|2970664 said:
Sometimes I get captivated by sparkliness. The sparkliness of spinel and tsavorite really captivated me. I think tourmaline's low sparkle factor may be a reason why I don't own any (though also because I can't find it easily in the saturated colors I want).

Hmmm, this is interesting to learn. You see, this is what I love about talking with the PSers here. I learn things I never would have thought of before.

I don't have a good handle on dispersion yet. Is this similar to fire in diamonds? Or is it closer to scintillation? I did look up the RI (refraction index?) on several gemstones and found that sapphires have a ca. 1.766 RI whereas, spinel has a ca. 1.712 RI. I always assumed that the RI causes the scintillation (diamonds RI in comparison to other stones is through the roof at 2.417) but the RI of spinels and sapphires don't look too far apart by comparison so its a bit confusing.

So it looks like good saturation is easier to find in sapphires, sparkle is easier in spinels. Its hard to see what the tourmalines have going for them - a low sparkle factor and a low saturation. No offense to tourmaline fans, I'm just learning and that's the inference I'm drawing from the comments here.

LovingDiamonds|1310852089|2970528 said:
Finding a gemstone that is durable enough for every day wear limits the search and soft gemstones are generally better as pendants or earrings.

deorwine|1310874630|2970664 said:
Hardness is my first criterion. I just don't buy stones that are less than hardness 7, and I'd prefer them to be tough as well. So I don't buy tanzanite at all; I tend not to buy iolite or zircon; and so on. The reason is that I abuse my stones... not intentionally, but I drop them and one of them even went through the washing machine (ouch)... and when they get set, they tend to get set in rings and knocked about more.

Ouch, washing machine? I can be hard on rings too which is why hardiness was important to me too.

My first gemstone project was going to be an emerald but I got a rude awakening when I saw how scuffed up some of the emerald surfaces were. Definitely not good for a ring since I am hard on my rings and I wasn't even comfortable with it in a pendant.

But I think color was the deciding factor for me. As much as I love the classic emerald green, I don't wear a lot of clothes that go with green. So it would have probably sat in my jewelry box and that was an expensive proposition.
 

LD

Super_Ideal_Rock
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AmeliaG|1310920683|2970813 said:
I figured maybe a lot of people don't buy like me. :lol: In truth, I was more sold on a sapphire too, I wouldn't have looked at any other stone if I hadn't heard of all the variations of blue stones.

Its hard to see what the tourmalines have going for them - a low sparkle factor and a low saturation. No offense to tourmaline fans, I'm just learning and that's the inference I'm drawing from the comments here.

It depends what you're looking for ........... you should never rule out a gemstone because there will always be one that comes along and you go "oh WOW". Here are three tourmalines (the last one is a Rubellite).

Paraiba Tourmaline Cushion2.JPG

Paraiba Tourmaline Oval3_1_1.JPG

Rubellite5_1_1.JPG
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
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Oh wow, LovingDiamonds. I love that first ring!
 

Upgradable

Ideal_Rock
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I've found my best luck, when looking for a specific color and size of gemstone, is to ask my PS friends to help me look. There is some great experience here, and some folks who know just where to look!

Good luck, and I'd be glad to help in any small way that I can!
 

AmeliaG

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
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Upgradable|1310927344|2970857 said:
I've found my best luck, when looking for a specific color and size of gemstone, is to ask my PS friends to help me look. There is some great experience here, and some folks who know just where to look!

Good luck, and I'd be glad to help in any small way that I can!

Thanks Upgradable. I actually am waiting on my first sapphire - an Asscher cut stone from Jeff White but Jeff has to source the rough stone first.

I just asked this question in a more general way as to how do you choose the actual stone you buy (sapphire vs. spinel, vs. garnet vs. tourmaline) because I was curious; I hadn't heard of many of these stones before PS and several different stones of the same color look similar.
 

marcy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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I tend to gravitate towards sapphires, garnets and spinels. I want one of each color and I am working on it slowly. For me color is first in a gemstone then it should be a nice but.
 

FrekeChild

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I still buy what I like. It's probably not the smartest way to shop, but when I have the cash to spend, and I see something I like, I go for it. My eye is caught way more by spinels and tourmalines than anything else. I never go looking for a color. I have the hot pink mahenge. I have red spinels. I have a perfect (to me!) green tsav. I have bright blue greens. I have more blue than I know what to do with. Luckily for me I tend to like a lot of things that cheapen stones (GRAY!).

I will say that I have a list of things I'd like to get eventually, but then I just pick them up when I stumble upon them...mint garnet is still on that list. Gray spinels are always on that list. So are lavender or blue spinels.
 

T L

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LovingDiamonds|1310924608|2970840 said:
AmeliaG|1310920683|2970813 said:
I figured maybe a lot of people don't buy like me. :lol: In truth, I was more sold on a sapphire too, I wouldn't have looked at any other stone if I hadn't heard of all the variations of blue stones.

Its hard to see what the tourmalines have going for them - a low sparkle factor and a low saturation. No offense to tourmaline fans, I'm just learning and that's the inference I'm drawing from the comments here.

It depends what you're looking for ........... you should never rule out a gemstone because there will always be one that comes along and you go "oh WOW". Here are three tourmalines (the last one is a Rubellite).

Actually some tourmaline has very high saturation, like LD's rubellite and paraibas, however, yes, I will agree that the sparkle factor isn't there like it is for some gems. A very good precision cut can help with that however, but to me, I just don't love tourmaline like I used to, so I don't go looking for it anymore. For some people, where color is paramount, they will go for a nicely colored tourmaline over another type of gem that has more sparkle. Lately, I've been craving sparkle and dispersion.

A long time ago, when I first started collecting, I used to confuse strong saturation with darkness of tone. I thought that stones which were dark in tone were better somehow than lighter toned stones. I had a lot to learn, but that was at least 15 years ago. I'm grateful I now understand the difference, and I think before anyone goes gem shopping, they should be well versed in saturation, tone and hue. These three variables are extremely important when understanding what makes a colored gem visually appealing and desirable, as well as treatment.
 
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