Colour-change gemstonesDecember 23, 2014
A while ago I received an email about colour with the caption that colour brings out the total beauty of everything that surrounds us. To prove that statement and for dramatic effect the email had black and white pictures that magically turned into full colour pictures. The same is true for gemstones because black diamonds set on white metal create the same stunning, dramatic effect. But colour, where gemstones are concerned, is king.
And the array of colours is mind-boggling for not only are gemstones in every colour of the rainbow but some are also bi-coloured with two distinctly different or complimentary colours while others have the amazing ability to change colours in different lights, and still others have a mesmerizing effect because the two colours are impossible to separate.
Two examples of the latter are the exquisite Parabia Tourmaline and the Appatite with its Parabia-like blue-green colour. Or is it a greeny-blue colour? I cannot say because the two colours blend so well together they become one amazing colour. Bi-colour gems, on the other hand, are distinctly two colours, as are clearly evident in the beautiful Ametrine with a 50/50 split of Amethyst (purple) and Citrine (golden yellow).
The Ametrine, whose name was derived from the two gems it displays – AMEthyst and ciTRINE – comes from only one place in the world, the Anahi Mine in Bolivia but it was known as far back as the seventeenth century when the mine was gifted to a Spanish conquistador on his marriage to Princess Anahi from the Ayoreos tribe. The stones were then introduced to Europe when the conquistador gifted them to the Spanish queen. This colour combination occurs naturally meaning you actually get two gems for the price of one at an affordable price.
If you’re not fond of either purple or yellow but you would like a bi-coloured stone, you really need to see bi-coloured tourmalines that are, in fact, famous for their incredible range of colours in a single gemstone. These colours include red and yellow; green and red, also known as the Watermelon Tourmaline; dark green like the emerald’s colour to the lighter, softer green of the Peridot; blue and violet like the Tanzanite; pink and green; and pink and red, AKA rubellite. While these colours are usually side-by-side still other tourmalines have colours that are perpendicular, running in different directions. This change of direction explains why these tourmalines are cut in a rectangular shape to emphasize the gem’s incredible optical features. As well, there are Chrome Tourmaline gems in that beautiful rich green colour that is reminiscent of Russian Chrome Diopside, that compare favourably with Emerald and Tsavorite even if they lack the Tsavorite’s brilliance or lustre. Truly, the Tourmaline with its incredible variety and range of colours make it a remarkable gem to satisfy every taste and/or desire. But, rather than take my word for it, you should see Monika at LL Private Jewellers who can provide you with more information and answer all your questions because the Tourmaline is her favourite gemstone.
To my way of thinking all of the above gems come under the heading of eye candy. But wait, there are yet more with the inclusion of those gems that have the amazing ability to change colours according to both the light source and the angle they’re viewed at. Those gems that qualify are the rare, valuable, and incredibly beautiful Alexandrite; colour-change garnet, colour-change sapphire, and the Zultanite.
The Alexandrite, so named for Tzar Alexander in the 1830s when it was first discovered in Russia’s Ural Mountains, is green or bluish-green in daylight that changes to raspberry or purplish-red in incandescent light. And it is because of this colour change that the Alexandrite is sometimes referred to as an emerald by day and a ruby by night.
The colour-change garnet is also dramatic in its transformation according to the light source for it changes from a bronze in daylight to a rose pink in incandescent lighting. And the colour-changing sapphire is equally astonishing because it displays a range of light dependent different colours from pink/purple to green/purple.
The Zultanite, also labeled a true Turkish delight is rare because it comes from only one place in the world, a remote mountain area in Anatolia, Turkey. Its colours are subtle and delicate earthy tones or hues, ranging from kiwi green in sunlight to raspberry purplish-pink in incandescent light. But it is not limited to two colours such as the red and green of the Alexandrite but also exhibits a wide range of other colours in accordance with the light source. These colours include sage and khaki greens, canary yellow, various pink shades, cocoa, champagne and ginger tones. All of these colours are natural and clearly visible to the untrained eye. When I first heard of Zultanite, I immediately thought of the sultans of ancient times and I wasn’t far wrong because the Zultanite was so named by jeweller and mine owner Murat Akgun to honour the 36 sultans who ruled the Ottoman Empire in late thirteenth century Anatolia.
So, if you’re searching for a really spectacular gemstone or a two-for-the-price-of-one gemstone you should definitely consider the bi-coloured or colour-change gemstones. But if your preferred criteria are exclusivity and beauty, the dazzling, incomparable Zultinite is the gem for you.
For more information about color-change gemstones please contact LL Private Jewellers at 604-684-6343.