Most good pieces of jewellery have, at the very heart of their design, a jewel. Different gemstones go in and out of fashion due to their colour or the current trends at the time, but one thing that never changes is the popularity of gemstones as a whole for use in jewellery.
Whether used in the form of a huge rock on an engagement ring, a delicate pattern on a necklace or bracelet or a small stud on a pair of earrings, a good quality gemstone can bring a touch of class to any item.
Diamonds have long been ‘a girl’s best friend’, gracing the face of many items of jewellery. They are particularly popular for engagement rings and stud earrings. White diamonds are also popular for male jewellery. On ladies items, diamonds are more likely to come in different colours such as pink, blue or a pale yellow although the classic white stone is still the most popular.
Another popular stone at the moment is the pearl. This is more inclined to going in and out of fashion than the diamond, perhaps because pearls are, by definition, quite large in their complete form, whereas diamonds can fit into even the smallest trend.
White pearls are still the most popular, both singly on more understated items and in strings, particularly for brides on their wedding day. The more rare black pearls are also quite popular at the moment and are actually more expensive to purchase because they are so unusual.
Sapphire is another popular stone. While the most sought after sapphires are the naturally occurring ones that can be found in certain sediments, it is also possible to produce this precious stone industrially these days. Sapphires are traditionally dark blue in colour, but it is also possible to find more rare, naturally occurring yellow sapphires.
Ruby is another stone that has always been popular for use in jewellery. It is found naturally in similar environments to sapphire and is in fact derived from the same mineral, corundum which is a form of aluminium oxide. Traditionally, rubies were deep red in colour. However these days, the good quality, naturally occurring ones tend to be somewhat lighter in colour and the manufactured ones are made to be deep red.
The beautiful opal also deserves a mention here. Opals take on many different colours dependent on the light conditions in which they are viewed. They are found mainly in Australia and derive from silica. Unsurprisingly, it is particularly popular in jewellery making due to its highly distinctive, pearlescent appearance.