What are some of the Top Precious Gemstones in the world?

Aquamarine – a popular choice among jewellery designers

The aquamarine gemstone is a member of the beryl family of gemstones, which also includes emerald, heliodor, morganite and goshenite.

The name ‘aquamarine’ is derived from a combination of two Latin words: aqua meaning water, and marina meaning the sea.

Aquamarine usually has a pale blue to bright blue colour, caused by iron in its chemical composition.  Its hues range can range from blueish green, blue-green, greenish blue, to deep blue, and its tones can vary from very light to moderately dark.

The price of an aquamarine gemstone is primarily determined by weight and the strength of its colour. Gems with a faint blue colour are cheaper than those with a rich blue colour, for instance. Aquamarines are available in a wide range of sizes.

It has a Mohs hardness of 7.5 to to 8 (the Mohs scale characterises the scratch resistance of various minerals 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest), making it one of the harder gemstones. The aquamarine's durability makes it a popular choice among jewellery designers.

The world's largest cut aquamarine gem is the Dom Pedro aquamarine, which cut from a crystal originally weighing approximately 45 kg and measuring 0.91 m in length. The stone was mined in Pedra Azul, in Brazil, around 1980 and was cut by Bernd Munsteiner into an obelisk form weighing 10,363 carats. The finished dimensions measure 36 cm tall by 10 cm wide. It is housed in the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History.

If you’re on a budget, an aquamarine is a good alternative to diamonds. It serves as the birthstone for the month of March, making Aquamarine rings, earrings and pendants are popular birthstone gifts. Aquamarine is also the gem of the 19th wedding anniversary.

Sapphires – not only blue!

A sapphire is a variety of the mineral corundum. It is typically blue, but ‘fancy’ or ‘parti’ sapphires also occur in yellow, purple, orange, and green colours. Red corundum stones also occur, but these are called rubies. A pinkish orange extremely rare and collectible type of sapphire is called padparadscha.

Sapphires score a 9 on the Mohs scale (the third hardest mineral, after diamond at 10 and moissanite at 9.5).

The cost of natural sapphires depends on their colour (preferred sapphires have strong to vivid colour saturation), clarity, size, cut, and overall quality.

Throughout history, royal figures wore sapphires, as they purportedly attracted wealth and protected them from envy and infidelity. They were also thought of as having healing properties.

Pink sapphires range from light red (pink) to light purple. They are recognised as having a variety of meanings, symbolising good fortune, romance, power through hardships and intense love, and are thus popularly used in engagement rings. One of Queen Elizabeth II’s more well-known brooches has a pink sapphire floral design.

Sapphires are the birthstone for September. They are also the traditional wedding anniversary gift for 45th year.

Ruby – red and gorgeous

Like sapphires, rubies are a variety of the mineral corundum. A ruby is a pink to blood-red coloured gemstone; its colour is due to the element chromium. The word ruby comes from ‘ruber’, which is Latin for red.

The quality of a ruby is determined by its colour, cut, and clarity, and with carat weight. Like sappires, rubies are extremely strong stones. They rank 9.0 on the Mohs scale of mineral hardness, placing it directly under the diamond and moissanite.

Rubies have always been favoured by those in roles of power as well as by those in love.

The ruby is the gemstone of those born in July, as well as the stone that celebrates the 40th wedding anniversary.

Q & A

What is an Aquamarine stone?

Named after seawater - comes from the Latin ‘aqua’ for ‘water’ and ‘marina’ for ‘of the sea’ - Aquamarine is a light blue gemstone of the Beryl mineral family (other gemstones in this family include morganite, goshenite, yellow beryl and emerald). It is a traditional birthstone for those people born in March, as well as the gem of the 19th wedding anniversary. It is said to have calming and balancing properties; in fact, it was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea in the past.

What do Pink Sapphires symbolise?

Pink sapphires are said to symbolise trust, loyalty and sincerity, and also believed to carry good fortune, compassion and passionate love.

What colour is a Sapphire?

Sapphires are usually known to be blue gemstone but in actual fact, they come in a wide range of colours. Sapphires that are not blue are known as ‘fancy sapphires’ or ‘parti sapphires’ and may be any colour (except red which would make it a ruby). Sapphire can come in pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, violet and even black and colourless. The most valued blue sapphires are velvety blue to blue/violet. An extremely rare sapphire is a mix of pink and orange is known as padparadscha which could be described as peach-coloured.

What does a Ruby mean spiritually?

The ruby is thought of as one of the most powerful red stones. It is said to boost your energy levels and promote self-esteem, happiness, intuition, passion and spiritual wisdom. The ruby is a symbol of good fortune, pure love, and loyalty. It is believed to protect the wearer from negative entities that leach positive energy. The ruby is the birthstone of those people born in July and was regarded by ancient Hindus as the ‘king of gems’. In the Bible, it was considered the short form of the biblical name, Reuben, meaning ‘behold, a son’ in Hebrew.

How many years is a Ruby wedding anniversary?

The 40th wedding anniversary is known as the ruby anniversary.