All That Glitters: A Guide to Gemstones
As Marylin Monroe once said, ‘Diamonds are a girl’s best friend’ – but when it comes to gemstones, there are a whole host of other options that exude just as much glamour and character.
Colourful gemstone jewellery can add a unique touch to any outfit, whether you’re looking for a new statement necklace, or an engagement ring that shows off your own personal sparkle.
To help you choose, Angelic Diamonds have put together a gemstone education guide, exploring historical significance, durability, and celebrity favourites.
Sapphires take their name from the Ancient Greek word ‘Sapphueiros’, which means blue stone. All sapphires, whether blue, pink, yellow or green, are made primarily from the mineral corundum. The more chromium found in the corundum present, the more pink the sapphire is.
According to ancient Persian folklore, The Earth was balanced on top of a sapphire, giving the sky its blue colour. In Asian lore, pink sapphires were admired as symbols of love and often compared to the sacred lotus flower, symbolising wisdom and beauty.
Today, blue sapphires are associated with royalty, commitment, and truth. They’re found in several countries’ crown jewel collections, such as the UK and Holland, and famously feature in the Duchess of Cambridge’s engagement ring. Today pink sapphires represent elegance and romance and are also often worn by royals and celebrities. One of the most famous examples of a prominent pink sapphire is the one on the broach Queen Elizabeth II wore while giving her 2013 Christmas Day speech.
Rubies get their name from ‘Ruber’ which is the Latin word for ‘Red’. This precious gem is made up of a mineral called corundum and it can vary in colour from a deep, dark red to a pale pink. Rubies are the third hardest mineral substance in the world, only beaten by moissanites and diamonds.
This iconic red gemstone has featured prominently in historical readings. It’s mentioned several times in ancient Sanskrit scriptures under the name “The King of Gemstones” and is referred to numerous times in the bible with connections to wisdom and beauty. Possibly the most famous reference to rubies is in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy tapped together her magical ruby red slippers to transport her back to her home in Kansas. However, Elizabeth Taylor, Victoria Backham and Jessica Simpson are also major fans of the gemstones.
Emeralds also get their name from an ancient Greek word – ‘Smaragdus’, meaning ‘Green’. This dazzling gem is made from the mineral beryl and gets its vibrant colour from chromium or vanadium. This gem isn’t particularly durable, making it unsuitable for everyday wear.
Emeralds are also the birthstone for people born in May, signifying love and rebirth. Emerald jewellery is also a traditional gift for 55th wedding anniversaries, May engagements, May weddings and to celebrate the birth of a baby.
Emeralds were first discovered in Egypt, when Cleopatra was said to have a passion for the gems. She famously adorned herself with the green gemstone and the Romans were also enamoured by them, believing them to be powerful symbols of love and fertility.
Today, emeralds are an emblem of beauty, style and wealth with many iconic women, such as Queen Elizabeth II, Jackie Obnassis and Elizabeth Taylor wearing them in statement jewellery.
These eye-catching gemstones have been steadily increasing in popularity over the years. Historically, the colour pink has been associated with delicacy, femininity, and resilience. The vibrant colour has also become a popular choice for engagement rings, as the soft pink gemstone reflects light beautifully.
Pink sapphires have been associated with romance for hundreds of years. Throughout Asia, they are often compared to the lotus flower, representing timeless beauty, purity and wisdom. Today, they are a firm favourite of the royal family; Queen Elizabeth II is well known for her stunning brooches, one of them a huge pink sapphire floral design that she wore when giving her 2013 Christmas Day speech.