Rocking Out With The Most Popular Groups of Gemstones


Loren Nicole Multi-Color, Multi-Shapes Charm Necklace

Whenever I trek out to Las Vegas for Jewelry Week, where multiple trade-only shows are going on simultaneously, I always feel like I have hit the trifecta. It’s a triple play of trends, new directions and discoveries.   AGTA, (American Gem Trade Association) consistently features gemstones that are as magical as they are meaningful and trend-worthy. But this year, the choices were full of exclusive cuts, exuberant gems in a kaleidoscope of colors. I have written about this subject in past articles (please see the links below). I love covering AGTA and then seeing how trends emerge in contemporary and antique/vintage jewelry in these same gemstones. And, it happened again this year. I was able to uncover epic signed pieces and early antiques at The Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show in the stones which were most directional at AGTA. I also found designs from elegant to cutting edge in finished designer pieces. Often, there is a collective consciousness that fills the air when it comes to jewelry and fashion. This has been happening for the past several years and each time I visit the AGTA show it seems to get bigger and broader in its scope of newly found gems, natural colored stones and rare, creative cuts. Colored gemstones have also been witnessing a resurgence over the past several years and it continues to open up a small world of vibrant and some mysterious new rock stars I never knew existed.

One of my past stories included all the meanings and symbolism of the gemstones I featured (read here), so for this article let’s go straight to the sources and then see how the most popular stones in a variety of cuts took shape.

A BEVY OF BI-COLOR GEMS continues into the new season. Although watermelon and other ombre effects in tourmaline are still going strong, ametrine (a mix of amethyst and citrine) has quickly become a contender, particularly in stones of usual cuts.



GOING FOR GARNET in all it’s painterly palette has lent some competition to colored sapphires. We are drooling over the new deep purple garnets and we are equally happy to see new cuts of demantoids, even in small sizes out in the market (particularly since we find them so charming and vivid in antique jewelry). From deep orange spessartite to tsavorite and classics of rhodalite and almandine garnet, we saw all colors of the garnet spectrum at the AGTA Show.

James Alger mixed Garnets including Rhodalite, Manderin, Violet, Demantoid,Tsavorite and Spessartite


An antique French Spessartite garnet from Greens of Cheltenham


Mandarin Garnet and Pink Sapphire earrings by Erica Courtney

A PAINTERLY PALETTE still reigns supreme when it comes to fancy colored sapphires which are available in just about every permutation–from pop colors to pastels.

BLUE HEAVEN– represents all shades of blue, a color that will never go out of style. We have seen it for multiple seasons and it includes opaque and transparent gems and stones that change color with the light.  Lapis and turquoise have become seasonless and can be found in high jewelry and high karat gold. Star sapphires are making a comeback from the days when Hollywood’s golden girls such as Carol Lombard, Jean Harlow, Myrna Loy and Joan Crawford wore their own pieces on the silver screen.  The magic of moonstone continues to hypnotize, particularly when cut into surprising new shapes. And, after Meghan Markle flashed Prince Harry’s wedding gift of his mother, Princess Diana’s emerald cut aquamarine ring, we are seeing this stone in everything from edgy to polished cuts.

Margery Hirschey Aquamarine and Blue Topaz Earrings

Loren Nicole Aquamarine Intaglio

ROMANTIC REDS: Who doesn’t have a passion for rubies, the gem which bespeaks fiery romance? In earlier times spinels were mistaken for rubies but now we have got that straight and they are both calling out for statement pieces.

Ruby RIngs at Sylva & Cie



Rubies at Pala International

THE UNUSUAL SUSPECTS  and finding them took us on a scavenger hunt at AGTA, where came across some epic trapiche emeralds, Paraiba tourmalines and padparadscha sapphires. These stones are dreamy and rare and even the smaller sizes come with lofty price tags. But if you are hankering for one of these gems, keep your eye on the prize and save up for a custom piece which will highlight the beauty of these all natural, none treated gems.

FROM HERE TO ANTIQUITY brings back what was once known as semi-precious stones (I believe now all stones are simply gemstones). Citrine, blue topaz and amethyst and peridot date back for centuries. They are once again being used in jewelry that pays homage to the period styles but always with a modern twist.


Amethyst, Citrine and Blue Topaz earrings designed in collet settings at Fred Leighton

Retro coctial ring with Citrine Center Stone at The Gold Hatpin

PURPLE REIGNS, particularly since Pantone named Violet the color of 2018.  From all different shades of amethyst to lavender sapphire to violet garnets and tanzanite, all shades of the regal color have been shown in a variety of loose stones and finished jewelry.

Amethysts by Pillar & Stone


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