Joopy Gems Birthstones

Which Stone are You?

Joopy Gems Birthstones

I’m always getting asked about birthstones, and so I finally thought it would make sense to make a section on my website for them. I started off quite ambitiously trying to include every system I could find, but that quickly got a bit complicated and, well, large. So I’ve stuck to modern British and USA systems. There’s a huge choice for every month and I’m looking to boost my selection of precious stones this year, so look out April, May, July and September birthdays! You can browse the selection in my new ‘Shop by Birthstone’ section.

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Almandine Garnet 6x4mm Rose Cut Round Cabochon

Not Your Grandmother’s Jewellery

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What could I be talking about except garnet! You know what I mean; dull, rusty red stones set in gold-plated filligree. Nope. It’s just not fair. Garnet is one of the most exciting and varied of gemstones. It’s got a very wide colour-palette and price-wise it varies from the highly reasonable almandine to tsavorite at the top-end. It is also the birthstone for January.

Garnet has particular gemmological properties that make it reasonably straightforward to cut – it is what is known as singly refractive so what this means in real terms is that it is not at all pleochroic and therefore cutters don’t have to worry about what angle they are cutting it to make sure they are getting top colour. Many varieties also have a relatively high refractive index. What does this mean? Well, it is a measure of what happens when light hits a stone – a high index means that much of the light is reflected back to your eye; a low index means that much of the light passes right through. In real terms, stones with higher refractive indices are more sparkly. With the darker stones it’s not so obvious, but the sparkle on some tsavorites is simply amazing. See below and bottom for some examples of seriously stylish garnet jewellery.

Left to right: Ananda Khalsa Garnet Stud Earrings with Two 22k Dots, $440, David J Thomas Tsavorite Garnet and 18k Gold Ring, Coffin & Trout Spessartite Garnet, Rubellite & 18K Gold Pendant

Colour and Varieties

Red is the best-known colour of garnet, and the type that most people think of when they think of garnets is almandine. This commonly comes up very dark, what we call ‘closed’, and especially in larger sizes; however, it can be the most beautiful shade of deep blood-red. I have some almandine pears which just make me think of Sleeping Beauty every time I see them!  In fact, the name ‘garnet’ comes from the Latin word ‘granatum’ which means ‘dark red’. Pyrope garnet is also red; you see it more rarely and it often has a slightly pinker note to it – it lacks the rustiness you can sometimes get with almandine. For a more pronounced pink colour there is rhodolite which ranges from pinkish red to a deep raspberry pink. For orange, there is hessonite, with its gorgeous swirling inclusions, and more expensively, spessartite. Malay garnet runs from yellow-orange to a lovely pinkish orange. Then you get the greens; hydrogrossular garnet with its black inclusions, yellowish-green demantoid with its horsetail inclusions, and vivid green, sparkling, firey grossular garnet, more commonly known as tsavorite. This is one of my favourite stones and I would take it over emerald any day. Garnet is also a really good choice for anyone who is not keen on gem treatments as it is not routinely treated with heat or anything else.

Clockwise from top left: Jane Taylor Malay Garnet and 14k Gold Ring, Vintage Tsavorite Garnet & Diamond Invisible Set Cocktail Ring 14k Gold, Quadram Hexagon Almandine Garnet RingPamela Huizenga Hydrogrossular Garnet & Diamond Earrings, William White Hessonite Garnet and Sterling Silver Ring, Henn of London Spessartite Garnet and 18k Gold Necklace

I’ll be doing posts on individual types of garnet so keep your eye out for those. I have a large variety of garnet stones; click here to browse the collection.

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Pantone Has Spoken & The Future is Coral

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Pantone has announced their colour of the year for 2019 and it is a bright orange-pink: ‘Living Coral’. From a jewellery perspective it’s a slightly awkward one, as the obvious stone, or rather mineral to represent this colour is, of course, coral. But coral has become a bit contraversial in recent years, due to environmental concerns around the depletion of coral reefs. In the past, red and pink coral was harvested in a completely unsustainable way from reefs in the Pacific, until the coral was all gone. So if you stock it, you want it to be sustainably sourced, but once it is on the market, it is almost impossible to know where it has come from. I’d like to stock this, but I think realistically, it’s not going to be possible. Alternatives in this colour range go from pale to deep orange; I’m thinking peach moonstone, pink pearls, padparadscha sapphire, morganite, conch pearls, fire opal, carnelian, tourmaline and rhodochrosite. I love both La Corser’s conch pearl necklace below paired with the the vibrant yellow diamonds and paraiaba tourmaline,  and the softness of William White’s peach moonstone and prehnite combination. From left, clockwise, Turquoise and Sterling Silver Ring, Lia Chahla, Conch Pearl, Diamond and Tourmaline Necklace, La Corser Jewelry, Baroque Pearl Choker, Freshwater Creation, Peach Moonstone, Prehnite and 9k Gold Stacking Rings, William White, and Peach Tourmaline, 18k Gold and Sterling Silver Ring, Janish Jewels.

In terms of pairings for living coral, it’s tempting to look to the other brights on their colour report but I think that these will drown this colour. Personally I’m not fond of it paired with bright blues but turquoise and rhodochrosiste can be awfully pretty (see top left and top right). I think it does best when put with more subtle partners. Think peach and white, or peach and grey moonstone. Or as above, peach moonstone with the soft green of prehnite. Or peach pearls matched with white or rainbow moonstone. Or labradorite with any of these, which marries the the soft grey with a turquoise glow.

We have a selection of coral coloured stones; to shop the collection, click here.

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