Monday, February 16, 2015

Pantone Colors in Gemstones Spring/Summer 2015--Part I

I'm baaaack!

So, have you been following the latest fashion color trends from Pantone? This lineup features soft pastel colors along with earthy jewel tones for spring and summer 2015. Marsala is probably the hottest color of them all.

So what stone colors will match up with the Pantone colors? First, go to the Pantone site in the color links below to get an idea of what the colors look like, and the we'll look at my fabulous collection of stones to give you some ideas that will match these colors.

For Marsala, try looking at garnets. Garnets have a fabulous color range that goes beyond just red. Besides the deep claret red of pyrope garnet, or the violet undertone of rhodalite garnet, there are many colors of garnet that include an earthy brown undertone to rich red. The stones below show excellent Marsala qualities.

Garnets in Marsala color
There is also carnelian, which typically comes in cabochon form (a cabochon has a generally smooth top with no facets), or sardonyx, which has banded layers with white, is and frequently carved to make cameos. Here are several examples.
Sardonyx Cameo

Carnelian cabochons

The Aquamarine and Dusk Blue colors will have great matches in the various colors of blue topaz and blue opals. While you could always choose an aquamarine stone, not all of us have the money for a high quality stone, plus you need to limit yourself to small sizes. Aquamarines over the size of one carat, or two at the most, are rare and quite pricey.

Topazes cost considerably less so you can get a sizeable stone that won't break the pocketbook. They're pretty tough too, and have a high refractive index in the lighter colors, which means you get lots of scintillating sparkle.

Topazes in light to medium colors
The cost for blue opals depends on a lot of factors, and the prices can range from nosebleed section to very affordable. Try looking at boulder opals, doublets or triplets (a small slice sandwiched between layers), and manmade imitation opals.

Blue opal doublet at top and imitation blue opals
Sodalite and lapis are excellent choices for Classic Blue. Sodalite is a dark blue, frequently with contrasting white swirls interspersed in the stone. This will be an especially popular stone in the summer. Can't you just see it with a striped blue and white outfit, with a pop of bright red color? The red, white and blue have always been, and remain very popular summer colors, especially with sailor stripes. Sodalite is very affordable, but it's somewhat soft, so be sure to choose a setting that won't get much abrasion. Pendants, earrings and hair accessories are excellent choices.

Lapis is a gorgeous stone and higher quality lapis is a rich blue color, ranging from an ultramarine to a royal blue. In fact, the most desirable colors are called lapis lazuli or royal lapis lazuli. Some lapis has flecks or threads of gold pyrite scattered through the stone. Some prefer to have the clear stone, while others actively seek out the lapis with gold pyrite. This stone was highly sought by the old masters, because nothing else approached the rich blues of ground lapis pigment. You will see it in many old illustrated manuscripts and classical paintings.

Quality lapis is now in short supply, as almost all high quality lapis comes from Afghanistan. With all the present-day wars, there has been little quality material coming out and there are severe restrictions on how it can be bought and sold. Most of what you see now comes from old stock. As the stock dwindles, the prices go higher. 

Lapis lazuli
Several other considerations are blue lace agate and blue agate. Agates are tough and can be worn in most any type of jewelry.

Blue lace agate

Blue agate
This has covered a few of the colors that are in the Pantone palette. Stay tuned for some more really fabulous colors in Part II!