LA VIE EN ROSE
Pink stones are set to take centre stage this year. If you have a passion for the shade, Mother Nature offers plenty of options
There is a clamour for hot-pink rubellite tourmaline, the perfect gemstone for women who like to stand out. Large, good-quality rubellites with no visible natural inclusions (impurities) have a high value and are becoming rarer on the market, so snap them up while you still can. Prices for rubellite increased substantially when the stone caught the eye of gemstone investors from Asia and more than doubled for gems of more than three carats recently.
About 20 per cent of the tourmaline supply from the Cruzeiro mine in Brazil, one of the world’s main producers, is rubellite, but only a few crystals are of gem quality. Many of the country’s older mines are exhausted, so gem hunters now need to find collectors with old stock.
Rubellite crystals have a complex chemical structure and are coloured with small amounts of manganese, lithium and iron. It’s the different levels of these elements that produce the amazing tones, from soft pinks and bluish baby pinks to chocolate pinks and the striking watermelon pink and green gemstones. Indeed, watermelon, bi- and tri-colour tourmalines come in every colour imaginable. As each gem is unique, finding a matching pair for earrings is always a challenge.
A tip for tourmaline collectors: collect watermelons, and seek out the pink and lavender Paraiba-type gems. These extremely rare pink tourmalines are special because they contain traces of copper, putting them in a similar category to the electric neon-turquoise Paraiba tourmalines.
What if your inclination is towards softer pinks? Pantone says pastel pink is the colour of the year, and this shade is definitely going to be big. Consider rose quartz, a plentiful crystal that’s said to bring serenity, compassion and wellness to the wearer. With its soft, muted tones, the larger pieces are extremely eye-catching.
Another lovely gemstone is the peachy pink morganite, discovered in 1911 and named by Tiffany & Co gemmologist George Kunz after the banker JP Morgan, who was also a gem collector. It’s the pink translucent variety of beryl, which includes aquamarines and emeralds. Colour and clarity are the most important considerations, and expect to pay prices similar to those for quality aquamarines.
Kunzite, an interesting gem find of the 20th century, is a lovely sparkly lavender gem, and can look very much like a pink diamond on the finger. For that reason, it is now finding favour with gem collectors.
Pink diamonds, too, are setting auction records, because stones weighing more than three carats are very hard to find.
It’s easy to forget that gemstones are created by nature under extreme heat and pressure, and that inclusions are the handprints and DNA of each crystal, so it’s common for most gems to have them.
With so many lovely pink gemstones to choose from, it should be a breeze to find the perfect one.