Learn About Color
Color: What legends are made of.
Colored gemstones play an important role in the myths and legends of history. Some tell a story. Some are believed to behold special powers. Some colored gems have been treasured since the beginning of time, while others have only been discovered in recent history. Color can express your deepest desires, the shades of your love. From rings and pendants to bracelets and earrings, Schmitt Jewelers can help you select the perfect colored gem for your next piece and will search the world to find it. Because the right gem and color on the right person is more than remarkable. It’s more than style and sensibility. It’s legendary.
Learn about color
We’re passionate about exotic, vibrant, colored gemstones of every hue and shade. In fact, we have one of the most spectacular collections of colored gemstone jewelry in Phoenix! Colors range from the stunning shades of blue and turquoise, reminiscent of the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, to the vibrant orange and red Phoenix sunsets to the hues of the Grand Canyon. Colored gemstones are our specialty and we love sharing what we know about our wide selection of gems. But, don’t let these birthstones define you. You might be a Capricorn and not love Garnets. In other words, wear what you want. Wear what you love.
This gem is available in a rainbow of colors, from the deep red Bohemian Garnet to the vibrant greens of the Russian Demantoid and African Tsavorite. We also see it appearing in the oranges and browns of Spessartite and Hessonite from Namibia and Sri Lanka and the subtle pinks and purples of Rhododendron. 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.
The ancient Greeks and Romans believed amethyst would ward off the intoxicating powers of Bacchus and keep the wearer clear-headed and quick-witted. An amethyst complements both warm and cool colors so it looks fabulous set in yellow, rose and white metals. This unique ability means it enhances almost every color in your wardrobe.
The name aquamarine speaks for itself, meaning seawater. Aquamarine immediately brings to mind its stunning pastel sky blue or the bright color of the sea. Aquamarines are found in a range of blues; from a pale pastel to a greenish-blue to a deep color. Darker shades of blue are increasingly rare and, in turn, make the value increase. Aquamarine is frequently a pastel gemstone, but the color can be more intense in larger gemstones. Smaller aquamarines tend to be less vivid.
Since ancient times, diamonds have been admired objects of desire. Formed far beneath the Earth’s surface over a billion years ago, diamonds are the hardest gem of all. Diamonds have a long history of folklore; some of which say diamonds were created when bolts of lightning struck rocks, and others said the gem possessed healing powers. You can read more about diamonds here.
Cleopatra, Egypt’s tempestuous female monarch, was as famous for wearing emeralds in her time as Liz Taylor was for wearing diamonds in our time. 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 basic 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, the color-change gem. Outside in daylight, it is a cool bluish mossy green. Inside in 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 the gemstone increases as the color change becomes more distinct.
Ancient Romans believed that this shimmering rock was formed from frozen moonlight, giving it the name moonstone. Its colors range from colorless to gray, brown, yellow, green, or pink and clarity that goes from transparent to translucent. The best moonstone has a blue sheen, perfect clarity, and a colorless body color. Found in India and Madagascar, rainbow moonstone has a variety of colors, from pink to yellow, to peach, purple, and blue.
The ruby represents love, passion, courage and emotion. For centuries, this gem has been considered the king of all gems. The color of a ruby is the most important feature of the gemstone. 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” – an indication that it is a rich, passionate, hot, full red color with a slight blue hue.
Most peridot gemstones come from Arizona, but it is also found in China, Myanmar, and Pakistan. Peridot is available in several colors ranging from yellowish green to brown, but the bright lime and olive greens are the most desired. If you prefer citrus tones or earth tones, you’ll find that peridot belongs in your jewelry collection. Peridot gemstones smaller than three carats are very common but gemstones over five carats are rare, and therefore have a higher value. Peridots in 10 to 15 carats are even more rare, but provide a big and bold look at an affordable price.
Centuries ago, Sanskrit writings referred to Spinel as the daughter of ruby. The bright red color of spinel is so closely related to the ruby, the two of them are often confused with one another. Spinels are 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, which is one of the most spectacular gemstone colors and unlike any other gem. Spinel also comes in beautiful blues, but these are extremely rare.
When hearing the word sapphire, many people immediately envision a stunning violet-blue gemstone because 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. The most sought-after color sapphire is the rare and beautiful padparadscha: a pink-orange corundum with a distinctive salmon color reminiscent of a tropical sunset. These ultra-rare, ultra-expensive stones are among the most coveted gems in the world.
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 prefer the calming flashes of blues and greens; 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.
Available in a spectrum of colors and color combinations, tourmaline lives up to its name, which means “mixed stone”. Cranberry red, hot magenta, bubblegum pink, peach and orange, canary yellow, mint, grass and forest green, ocean blue, violet: tourmaline is all of these and more. Tourmaline is also known for displaying several colors in one gemstone. These bi-color or tri-color gems are formed in many combinations and are highly prized. With tourmaline available in so many colors, you’re sure to find one in your favorite color.
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 orangey 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. Citrine is one of the most popular and affordable gemstones. 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.
In shades of yellow, brown, honey, green, blue, red, pink and sometimes no color at all, topaz has a wide appeal. Topaz is often found in an amber gold, yellow, or a blushing pink orange but a pale pink or a sherry red topaz is very exceptional. 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; topaz with a naturally blue color is very rare. With its worldwide appeal throughout the centuries, once you find that perfect topaz, you’ll soon be under its spell.
Tanzanite is a unique gemstone found in only one place on Earth: the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro. 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. Turquoise is an opaque, light to dark blue or blue-green gem with its finest color being an intense blue. This gemstone may contain narrow veins of other materials either isolated or as a network. They are usually black, brown, or yellowish-brown in color. Known as the matrix, these veins of color are sometimes in the form of an intricate pattern, called a spider web.
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 the vivid blue and bright Caribbean Sea colors. The spectrum of beautiful colors, its rarity and affordability are why it is becoming more popular today. Some gem collectors seek out zircon from different locations, capturing gems in every color of the rainbow – colorless, green, blue, yellow, brown, orange, dark red, and all the colors in between.
Beyond birthstones, there are a myriad of gemstones we love. Here are a few:
Dating back to 2950 B.C., jade has been treasured in China as the royal gemstone. Thought to preserve the body after death, jade can be found in emperors’ tombs from thousands of years ago. To this day, many people believe that jade will protect them from harm. Jade is known for its vivid green and shimmery, smooth shapes but it also comes in lavender, pink, yellow, and white. Wearing a stunning piece of Jade jewelry is sure to make anyone ‘green’ with envy.
With its dazzling brilliance and soft colors of clear pink, peach, and hot fuchsia, it’s no wonder it is known as the stone of divine love. The delicate pink gem promotes love and prosperity. With shades of pink dominating the fashion industry, morganite is a favorite for women of all ages. Coming in pinks from subtle lavenders to bright fuchsias and even pastel pink apricot blends, morganite exudes charm and tenderness. Its wide appeal is due to its versatile pink colors that complement all skin tones and can be set in white or yellow gold.
Today when we think of onyx we often preface the word with black to distinguish it from other varieties of onyx. This gem comes in white, reddish brown, brown and banded. A variety of onyx that is reddish brown with white and lighter reddish bands is known as sardonyx. Black is timeless and never goes out of style, which is why you can never go wrong with black onyx. Its appealing rich black color can be both classic and contemporary.
Looking for more information on color gemstones? You can find it at the American Gem Trade Association. https://agta.org/