Whether you want to compliment your diamond or are looking to show off your favorite color, sapphires, rubies and emeralds are spectacular feature stones for engagement rings and wedding jewelry. Just like diamonds, not all specimens are created equal. Learn how to shop for these gemstones to ensure you get the superior quality you deserve.
Ranging in color from deep ocean blue with strong to vivid saturation to a very vibrant pink-orange hue, sapphires are members of the corundum mineral family. September’s birthstone has been a favorite of royalty for hundreds of years; in fact, Prince William proposed to Kate Middleton with Lady Diana’s iconic 18-carat sapphire engagement ring.
Look for stones with a rich, dark color with violet undertones in a medium to medium dark tone, rid of any brown or yellow lines. Sapphires usually have inclusions, but less visible ones are more desirable. In fancy colors, like this pink sapphire eternity band, ideal stones have a bright, saturated hue.
Rubies are July’s birthstone and, as a member of the corundum family, sapphires’ bold siblings. The finest and more valuable color of ruby is called “pigeon’s blood” which exhibits a deep red with a purple secondary hue. The hue forever links rubies with love, and pieces like a ruby and diamond ring will say “I love you” every time the stones catch the light.
Rubies should have naturally vivid color and ample light to play inside the stone. They can sometimes have dark or gray spots called extinctions that are obvious when held up to the light. Fewer extinctions mean a more valuable stone.
May’s birthstone and a member of the beryl family, emeralds were the favored stones of Cleopatra and are an enduring symbol of a couple’s devotion. These best color qualities of these stones range from a lush, blue-ish green to a pure green with vivid saturation.
As with rubies, transparent emeralds are much more valuable than opaque specimens are. Stones that are true green, not erring into blue or yellow, with saturated color are the most desirable. The iconic emerald cut is designed to protect this fracture-prone stone from damage.
Since most colored gemstones are chemically treated, it is important to ensure you are getting a natural specimen with no chemical treatments before you make a purchase . As the show-stopping center or a subtle accent, a sapphire, ruby or emerald will add a colorful sparkle to your wedding ensemble.