For millenia, humankind has been fascinated by gemstones. While diamonds are still the first choice for most people, the more discerning buyers are getting increasingly adventurous. And luckily for them, there’s no dearth of options out there with alternatives ranging from the traditional rubies, emeralds and sapphires to the more contemporary tourmalines and kunzites. According to jewellery designer, Poonam Soni, “Today, coloured stones are used in jewellery for various reasons such as—aesthetics, cost effectiveness and current trends. The international jewellery market uses more coloured stones like blue topazes, aquamarines, sapphires and the ripples of those trends are visible here. They also offer the buyer a more varied choice”.
The Glam Factor
Be it bold opulent pieces, cocktail rings or chandelier earrings, designers are creating designs studded with semi-precious stones. For Mumbai-based adornologist, Varuna D Jani, working with semi-precious stones adds freshness and originality to each piece. “It adds to the glamour quotient and makes a style statement. A single signature piece with semi-precious coloured stones can complement any outfit and create the desired effect.”
Rubies in the Sky
The rising price of diamonds is driving demand for semi-precious coloured stones, which offer opulence at a great cost. According to Suni Datwani, owner of Gehna Jewellers, “There has been a rise in the popularity of rose cut, uncut and champagne-coloured diamonds. There are many coloured gemstones, besides diamond that not only look good but have historical associations to love. Red stones symbolise the heart, and thus, passion and a zest for life. With red, one instantly thinks of rubies but the same symbolism can be conveyed with red garnets or red tourmalines. When it comes to green, which symbolises faithfulness and continuity, aside from emeralds, stones such as green garnets or green tourmalines, would work well too. For blue, which connotes spirituality and purity, you can replace sapphire, which became very popular when Princess Diana received her engagement ring, with iolite. And then there is pearl that has not only always been associated with love but has borne a strong connection with wedding jewellery for longer than all the other stones”.
Precious and Priceless
Multi-coloured gemstones do not offer the same intrinsic value as diamonds, sapphires, rubies and emeralds, but their allure lies in their price and design potential. Increased demand for bespoke jewellery, coupled with price-consciousness has meant designers are turning to little-known gems for both unusual colour effects and a semblance of affordability. As a result, prices of lesser-known gemstones are also gradually rising. “We have noticed that women look out for jewellery pieces that match international trends. People are willing to sport bold pieces and flaunt gemstones of different colours and sizes. We attempt to create jewels that are high couture, customised and rare. The eternally popular choices of rubies, emeralds, pearls and sapphires prevail, yet people are experimenting with sapphires in various beautiful soothing colours, kunzites, tourmalines and briolettes, as they understand that these can add the much needed volume and texture to any design,” says Mira Gulati, founder and principal designer, Mirari.
Price and preciousness change with fashion. And Indians have been quick to adapt to changing trends. “Though the diamond remains a huge favourite, Indians are now opting for coloured stones more than earlier. Coloured stones are also becoming increasingly popular due to a resurgence of faith in astrology,” says Sunil.
With shifting ethnic influences, economic constraints, macro-market influences and a preference for style over sentiment, trends point towards buyers choosing semi-precious stones. “Multi-coloured sapphires are trending currently (Kunzite is gaining popularity and is a refreshing change),” says Varuna. She concludes, “One should choose the semi-precious coloured stone that suit their personality and skin tone. If it’s a day event, just a drop of semi-precious coloured stone would work magic, or if you prefer the classic look avoid opulent colours and gigantically proportioned pieces”. With the gemstone industry thriving, there is no better time to start looking for coloured stones than now!