Ametrine; the panda of the gemstone world

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Ametrine is the trade name for bi-colour amethyst; part amethyst, part citrine – see what they did there! In many ways it’s the panda bear of the gemstone world; it only comes from one mine in Bolivia, and given that citrine is effectively amethyst that has been heated, what you are looking for are amethyst crystals which have been partly heated by processes in the earth and partly not. Then you want to find a nice clean crystal that will co-operate and give you an nice gem with a balance of both colours. In the past, the classic cut was a step-cut rectangle with an ideal proportion of 50/50 amethyst and citrine. These days, however, all kinds of arrangements are common. I’ve seen ones where the cut-off runs diagonally through the stone, and fancy cuts and concave cuts scatter the light and create all kinds of interesting colours and effects. I have for sale just a few of the classic rectangular step cuts, with good proportions and also a few concave cuts. Concave cutting is interesting as it involves cutting conical facets with 3 dimensions, so that each facet has depth as well as length and breadth. This means that more light is refracted and the stone appears more brilliant. In addition, the facets create a fascinating effect. To shop the range, click here.

Below, two perfectly simple, perfectly elegant rings, the settings a perfect foil for the beautiful stones. Left; Stone Fever Jewelry’s ametrine and sterling silver ring at $275 and EVGAD’s concave cut ametrine and sterling silver ring at £89

Angels’ hair or a wheatsheaf?

Talk about cryptic. But those of you in the know will realise I am talking about golden rutilated quartz. And those of you who know me will also know that I absolutely love this stuff. I’ve had it in freeform (polki) rose cuts for a while, but I’m just now offering it in cabochons, 8mm and 10mm round in the first instance. We’ll see how popular it is, and then I might offer it in other sizes or shapes. So rutilated quartz is also known as sagenitic quartz, or sagenite, (although I confess I’ve never come across it being called that, and I’ve been around the ‘gemstone block’ for quite a few years now, so it must be quite rare). What you have is clear to semi-transparent quartz included with rutile which has crystallised into needles. These appear in an amazing variety of forms; really fine, hence the name ‘angel hair’ to really thick, like lengths of straw. They may be sparse or dense; oriented into patterns – hence ‘wheatsheaf’ or randomly criss-crossed, but all are fascinating. The golden colour catches the light and gleams warm and gold. It looks great with silver or gold, and is the perfect stuff for creating something unique, as every piece is unique. I love the elegant simplicity of the pieces below, from left: Moon and Forge Studio’s rutilated quartz ring set in 14k yellow gold and sterling silver, at $315; Nijiko Designs’ rutilated quartz, 18k gold and sterling silver earrings at $175 and Chiara Batelier’s rutilated quartz pendant set in 18k gold

To shop 8mm rutilated quartz cabochons at $6 per stone, click here; to shop the 10mm cabochons at $8.25, click here

It’s all a little bit topaz…

Imperial topaz 2Aren’t these beautiful? They aren’t actually for sale, but I thought I would share them with you as I am rather pleased with them! These are imperial topaz brilliant cuts in a variety of shapes and sizes, and I have them because my eldest daughter’s birthstone is topaz and I thought it would be nice to get her some imperial topaz. They are not top colour, although a couple of them are pinkish and all of them seem to have a pleochroic reddish tint which you can pick up from the picture. They’re not calibrated either; I picked them out of a bag of pre-forms and so I got what I got! What do you think? I could get more of these, if I get some interest…

Spring Colours: Emerald

This is Pantone’s colour of 2013; a pleasing shade of blue-green, soft but with enough vibrancy to pack a punch. I remember when green was considered an awkward colour, difficult to wear. Times have changed and even if green still makes you nervous, jewellery is a good way of adding an accent of colour; dipping your toes in without getting completely soaked! The colour has also seen a rise in popularity in jewellery in recent years with the growing awareness of stones like chrysophase, which can make an excellent opaque emerald substitute. Emerald itself can be difficult; whilst it is indisputably beautiful, it’s expensive and I’ve seen the price of even lower grade opaque material soar over the past few years. Cheaper transparent material may be brittle and included, and rather lacking in lustre and so a more cost effective option might be the green and green-blue tourmalines. For vibrant green, chrome diopside is a good option.

3mm EME cab round 1SLTW103 34mm cabochon round11Tourmaline blue green cabochons 4mm round

In this colour range I have a selection of emerald cabochons, tourmaline and chrome diopside, plus a number of watermelon tourmaline slices in hard-to-find shades of blues and greens, available at Whilst emerald is often paired with diamond, greens also partner well with warm golds such as citrine and purples; all shades of amethyst from pale lavender to deep grape.

I’ve got a Pinterest board with a huge selection of jewellery in this colour range. To pick out just a few (which is hard!), to the right is a ring from Wexford Jewelers; the Emerald and Diamond Wedding set, in 14k yellow gold. To the left and below is the ‘Skyscraper IV, Destroyed. A tourmaline rough ring’. This is a fantastic natural bi-colour tourmaline crystal set in silver and 14k gold with diamond accents. I love this; you can see the natural crystal formation on this along with the growth marks. Wexford Jewelers are based in Michigan in the USA; a team of three sisters who, in their own words, ‘create a bouquet of exquisite pieces using recycled silver & gold, exquisite rough and polished gemstones, re-purposed diamonds, and rare minerals’. Unlike most other small-scale jewellers, they use the method of lost wax casting extensively in their work, carving their designs from wax first before having them cast in metal, lending a fluid and dynamic quality to their work. You can visit their shop here.

Charmian Harris is a British based designer, who cites early Greek and Roman jewellery as well as Egyptian jewellery as among her influences. She cuts and shapes her own stones and handpicks each one from collectors, dealers and sometimes direct from mine owners. I would imagine that this is extremely liberating for a designer, not to be bound by existing shapes and cuts. Certainly, Charmian’s work displays a striking fluidity and individuality; solid rock appears to flow in fantastically imagined forms. To the right is her Sea Creature pendant made of 18 carat gold, chrysophase, white sapphire and diamond. I love the shape and the sinuous lines of this piece; wonderfully tactile. To the right is her 18 carat gold ring with chrysophase; a form that appears organic and living with its curving lines and textured metal. You can find Charmian’s website and shop here.

Here’s something a little bit different: to the left is Adzia’s Fingerprint Wedding band. A unisex band with a fingerprint and a gemstone, Chicago-based Adzia makes these to order, so that you can wear your beloved’s fingerprint wherever you go! To the left is an example in 14 carat white gold set with a natural emerald, but you can choose your metal, your gemstone and your finish. A very unique way of sealing your relationship, and not only do I like the idea, I also love the look of this – I adore textured metal! Adzia has a whole range of fingerprint rings, with and without gemstones; prints on the inside, prints on the outside, you name it! You can find this ring, and more examples of Adzia’s work here

For a spot of sheer glamour, why not have a look at Hong Kong based designer-maker Steve Cheen’s work? Steve’s work is complex and highly detailed, despite handmaking each piece. To the right is his Jaguar Engagement Ring, made from 14K white gold with emeralds and diamonds. To me this is reminiscent of the 1930s with its curving lines, pave setting and intricately imagined jaguar head, the kind of elegant piece that might have adorned the finger of Wallis Simpson. To the left is his 3.2 carat green tourmaline ring set in 14 carat gold with diamonds. Again, the channel set diamonds lend traditional glamour, and the green tourmaline is spectacular. Steve will design to your specifications, and treats each piece as an individual artwork. For other examples of his work, you can find his shop here.

You can find more examples on my Pinterest board , below a selection, from left to right: necklace made of paper discs from German-based Dorisse at Paper Statement, Dior Fine Jewellery’s fantastical le Bal des Roses bal d’autrefois ring in white gold with diamonds, emeralds, chrysoprase, green tourmalines, tsavorite garnets and paraiba tourmalines, British based Louise O’Neill’s 18 carat gold necklace with green and pink tourmalines, and Jewelry by Johan’s Meteorite ring inlaid with platinum and set with a trillion cut emerald.