Ideal Colours

Is there such a thing as an ideal colour for coloured gems?
We say, yes, but it is a child of time and subject to change.

History shows that truly high-class gemstones are not affected by the fleeting whims of fashion. Who would let a burma ruby of top colour sit in the safe just because the current in-colour is lime green? Nobody, of course, but what is regarded as "best colour" may undergo considerable change in the course of time.

Now, ruby is a rather poor example to demonstrate this. The famed pigeonblood red, a red as pure and vibrant as possible, without any brownish or bluish tinge, has been the most desired colour since times immemorial.

So, let us look at blue sapphire. Here preferences of the general public - the only criterion for ideal colour - have changed significantly in the 25 years since the establishment of our company. The current trend is clearly for lighter tones. What was termed "best colour" in the 1980ies by appraisers and traders alike, is regarded as too dark by most of us today. Gems that were held slightly too dark then are virtually unsellable now.

On the other hand light blue sapphires, which twenty years ago were penalized with considerable markdowns by appraisers, are much sought-after today and in small stones light blues can be harder to get (and more expensive) than dark blues.

Even more drastic, albeit over much longer time, was the change in the case of aquamarine. In victorian age green(ish) aquamarines were more popular and more expensive than blue aquamarines. Today the exact opposite is true: the bluer, the better.

So what should a gem buyer pay attention to when it comes to colour?

Firstly, the colour must appeal to YOU, the buyer. It just does not make sense to buy a pigeonblood red ruby if a pinkish red is much more to your liking.

The exceptions to this rule are investment gems. Gemstones which are bought exclusively for their potential to preserve or even increase their value should be judged by future saleability only.

Secondly, gemstone colours should be as pure as possible. Any brownish tinge in red and pink stones is clearly undesirable, as are greenish or greyish tinges in, for example, blue sapphires or aquamarines.

Of course, there are exceptions to this rule, as well. Gems like petrolblue or turquoise tourmalines, lemon citrines and greenish-yellow beryls draw their peculiar beauty from the greenish or bluish tinge.

We think, if you follow these two simple rules you cannot go wrong.