Coloured Gemstones: Attributes and Popularity

Coloured Gemstone jewellery sales in ‘bricks and mortar’ retail outlets and e-commerce sites have increased significantly world-wide over the last three years and are showing no signs of relenting. Current consumer growth has seen a growing appetite for fine and extra fine quality gems in both precious and semi precious varieties with emphasis on colour.

Coloured Gemstone - Spessartine fire garnet           Coloured Gemstone - Tanzanite oval aym

Spessartine Garnet                                                                      Tanzanite

Colour in precious and semi precious gems is one of the main attributes in a gemstone’s beauty in addition to the cut of gemstone which can display the magnificent optical effects of certain varieties of gemstone. Another attribute is the durability of a gemstone which is really important as hardness and toughness of gemstone will dictate what piece of jewellery would be most suitable to resist daily wear and tear of gemstone. Other attributes also include the value of gemstone which can vary considerably whether gemstone is treated or untreated. Rarity of certain varieties and desirability are also important which embraces current fashion, culture and ethical considerations.

Cartier Tutti Frutti Ruby Sapphire and Emerald

Cartier Tutti Frutti bracelet – Ruby, Sapphire and Emerald
These last attributes are very relevant within the traditional domain of the big three precious stones, unheated ruby and sapphire and natural emeralds which are realising record prices at the auction houses worldwide especially in the Far East. Valuing jewellery, I am continually aware of the steep rise in pricing for gems of quality since 2012 which reflect the current level of demand and excitement surrounding these gemstones. But not all consumers have limitless budgets to buy into rarity.


Black opal with rough diamond ring - Coloured Gemstone

Black Opal with Rough Diamond

Gemstone jewellery with their broad array of colours and price points offers clients opportunity for repeat purchasing of a particular coloured gemstone for matching suites. For example, a client that purchases a gemstone cocktail ring may want a pair of earrings or pendant to match. This trend is attractive as repeat purchasing for diamond jewellery could be cost prohibitive.


fine aquamarine ring with coloured gemstone           fine rubylite ring

Fine Aquamarine                                                                       Fine Rubellite

Another point worth noting is that traditional sources of supply, for example sapphires from Thailand and precious opal and sapphires from Australia are either in decline or production depleted, supply has not grown. What we are we are witnessing is the importance of Africa as a primary source for coloured gemstones. New sources are emerging such as Tanzania for ruby, Ethiopia for opal and Madagascar as a significant supplier of various gemstone species. However, with the current and future demand from consuming markets including traditional and emerging markets with high net worth individuals can only squeeze supply and pricing can only go one way which is up!

Now really is the time to buy into a Coloured Gemstone!