Gemstone Guide

Although diamonds dominate the engagement ring market, many people, including celebrities, are choosing colored gemstones when they get married. The most popular colored stones are sapphire, emerald and ruby. Some famous women with colored stones engagement rings-Princess Di, Sarah Ferguson, Ivana Trump, Kirstie Alley, Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon. John F. Kennedy gave Jacqueline Bouvier a 2.88 carat diamond emerald ring.

A prior knowledge of gemstones (ruby, emerald and sapphire) will help you understand and retain what a jeweler tells you. This gemstone guide will help you in evaluating the quality of ruby, emerald and sapphire, an aid in avoiding fraud with information on imitation (synthetic and treatment), as a handy reference on colored gemstones, provide a collection of practical tips on choosing and caring for gems and a challenge to view colored gemstones through the eyes of gemologists and gem dealers. When gemologists speak of shape, they usually mean its face up outline. The most common gemstone shapes include round, oval, square, pears, marquise and octagon.

The Sapphire Engagement Ring

Sapphires are both traditional and colorful gem choices for a custom made engagement ring. You can add that 'something old' or 'something new' but what will really impress the brides need for 'something blue.' Sapphires are rare, beautiful, durable... and can be expensive. When you are looking for sapphire engagement ring stones, you need to know about its visual and physical properties, grading, and many color options. Prized for centuries for their use in engagement rings, sapphires are classic gemstones that have historically appealed to royalty and favored over diamonds, as a sapphire was considered as the symbol of truth, wisdom and eternity.

The Ruby Engagement Ring

The color red has for thousands of years symbolized love and passion. Additionally, ruby is the traditional July birthstone and an alternative birthstone for non-diamond brides.

Ruby engagement rings are also frequently seen our favorite celebrities and royalty's ring finger. Jessica Simpson’s engagement ring features a ruby center stone, while her sister, Ashlee Simpson wears an Art Deco-inspired ring. Prince Andrew also proposed to Sarah Ferguson with a high-quality ruby ring to match her red hair.


The Emerald Engagement Ring

Known for its enchanting deep green color, usually referred to as 'emerald green,' the emerald is a variety of the mineral beryl. The green color is caused by traces of chromium or sometimes vanadium that is present in the stone. Emeralds usually contain many surface reaching inclusions and are therefore it is important to read this article. The large number of inclusions also means that emeralds are not graded based on magnification, but rather, on what the eye can see. In fact, as long as there are not any visible flaws, the stone is considered flawless.

Learn about birthstones by month to know what's your birthstone.

Matching of Gemstones

Perfectly matched pairs of gemstones, especially for earrings, bracelets and also for three stone rings. However, matched pairs of gemstones are not easy to find because they are in high demand.

To match gemstones requires a highly skilled sorter who sorters through hundreds of stones to find closely matching stones, and then skilled cutting to make sure the pieces are well matched. Matching the size is not that difficult, as a larger stone can be cut to match the smaller stone. But finding two stones with identical color and clarity is always challenging.

Diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, rubies, are among the often-paired gemstones as accents for three stone rings or bracelets.

Enhancement is often used as another word for treatment. Enhancement also refers to the faceting and polishing of a gem. For centuries, ruby, emerald and sapphire have been in heat treated to improve their color. Heat treating is widely accepted because it is a continuation of a natural process, and it causes a permanent improvement of the entire gemstone. From the standpoint of value, it does not matter whether commercially-quality stones have been treated or not as long as the color is permanent. The overall quality of the treated stone will determine the price. However, a premium may be charged for high-quality untreated stones that comes with a lab report stating there is no evidence of heat treatment.

There are many methods of enhancing gemstones. Some of the most common enhancement treatments are described below. For more information on gemstone enhancements, visit the American Gem Trade Association website.

The use of heat to enhance the color of some gemstones is a common practice around the globe and has been going on for centuries. It is part of the standard polishing and finishing process for many gemstone varieties, including aquamarine, citrine, amethyst, sapphire, ruby and tanzanite, and is accepted by the jewelry industry and the American Gem Trade Association.

The enhanced color of heat-treated gemstones is permanent and does not require special care. Aquamarine, citrine, amethyst, sapphire, ruby and tanzanite gemstones offered by Blue Nile have been heat treated.

Colorless oil, wax and resin are used to improve the clarity of some gemstones. The colorless oil, wax or resin is infused into surface-reaching fissures (called inclusions) to improve the stone's appearance. This process began centuries ago by gemstone merchants who found that immersing emeralds in clear oil or waxes made them look clearer to the unaided eye. Today, almost all emeralds are treated in this way. Gemstones with colorless oil, wax or resin enhancement, including emeralds, can be harmed if handled roughly. Recommended special care for such gemstones is avoidance of sudden temperature changes, steaming, chemicals and ultrasonic exposure.

Emeralds offered by us may have been treated with colorless oil, wax or resin.

American Gemological Society: Since 1934, American Gem Society (AGS) has been protecting the consumers. For 70 years, the AGS logo has been a symbol of excellence in the jewelry industry. As an association of fine jewelers, our members are committed to the highest ethics, and practice truth-in-advertising and pricing. AGS is located at 181 World Trade Center, 2050 Stemmons Expressway, Dallas, TX 75027 and their telephone number is 809-972-1162. Jewelers Board of Trade: We are proud member of the Jewelers Board of Trade (JBT).