Lapis Lazuli Rose Cut Cabochon 8mm Round

Timeless, enduring, serene…but maybe, a little bit boring?

I am referring, of course, to Pantone’s Colour of the Year, Classic Blue. I don’t know, I find I am often a bit bemused by their picks. Along with everyone else, last year’s Living Coral seemed bizarre. This year, they are clearly playing it safe, but is it too safe? What do they say?

“We are living in a time that requires trust and faith. It is this kind of constancy and confidence that is expressed by Pantone 19-4052 Classic Blue, a solid and dependable blue hue we can always rely on,” says executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, Leatrice Eiseman.

Ok, yes. Solid and dependable; words to make the blood start pounding through your veins? Not really. He goes on to say,

“A boundless blue evocative of the vast and infinite evening sky”

Ok, that’s better, and I can see that. It is a very definite shade of blue; a strong colour, but not a loud one. ‘Full fat’ says Michelle Ogundehin and it’s a good description. Blue skies thinking, celestial skies, deep blue seas, all lovely connotations. But also sadness and depression; having the blues. It’s an interesting choice too, when other colour forecasters, for example WSGN, have opted for green shades, in keeping with the current focus on sustainability and, well, green issues.

I do think there’s a difference when it comes to colours between clothing and jewellery. I can’t see myself wearing this blue in clothing form. It’s at once too loud and not distinctive enough. It’s the colour of store uniforms and cheap balldresses from Moss Bros. However, when it comes to gems, it’s a different matter, because the two biggest stars are sapphire and lapis lazuli. At opposite ends of the value spectrum, still there are affordable sapphire cabochons and lapis is making inroads into fine jewellery. Sapphire is my birthstone and yes, one of my favourite gems. But lapis is something else; still inexpensive enough that it can be used in large, experimental pieces, it frequently appears in very contemporary looks, and yet it has a pedigree that stretches back centuries. When set in gold, it evokes Renaissance paintings when, crushed, it provided the blue pigment for the Madonna’s dress. In silver it is clean and sharp.

Sapphire is more expensive and rare, and therefore the jewellery tends towards the more classic and traditional. Big, set-piece engagement rings surrounded by diamonds (like my own!). However, sapphire does also lend itself to a clean, contemporary look, princess cuts set in white metal or larger cabochons in plain settings.

Other stones that could fall under the Classic Blue hat are London Blue topaz and iolite, although the former shades a bit green and the latter a bit purple. In terms of gems, I carry a range of all these stones. To view my Classic Blue collection, click here.

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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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