Tuesday, May 5, 2015

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

We continue to explore the Pantone color palette in gemstones.

For the color Lucite Green, you can't do better than some yummy gem quality chrysoprase. High quality chrysoprase is difficult to find, but it has a glow to it that can only compare to the finest jade. High quality material will have a silkiness to it, almost lit with an internal luminosity and will be translucent when held up to the light. Here is an example of gemmy green chrysoprase.

Green chrysoprase

If you want an excellent match for the Pantone color of Scuba Blue, then gemmy blue or blue-green chrysoprase is an excellent choice. This is one of my personal favorites because it has such a lovely glowing blue color to it.

Blue-green chrysoprase
The two stones above without the light shining through them

The colors Treetop and Woodbine are shades of woods and forests, complementary to each other. Treetop is a lush saturated green that will remind you of the middle of summer when the trees are in their prime. Woodbine has a warmer olive undertone, which is a color more prevalent in grass and trees towards the end of summer.

A woodbine color in nephrite jade

The green jades are good colors to match for these two. North America, primarily the U.S. and Canada, have many fine jades. Jade has two classifications: jadeite and nephrite. Jadeite is preferred by many, but I've seen many prime examples of nephrite. Nephrite is quite hard compared to jadeite, and because jadeite is softer, it is the preferred material for carvings. Both are tough and wear well in any variety of jewelry or men's accessories. Jadeite is frequently more translucent than nephrite, however as I've said, I've seen outstanding examples of nephrite that will rival that of jadeite. For a ring or cufflinks, which tend to get a lot of wear from abrasion, nephrite jade will hold up better than jadeite.

Woodbine color and treetop color in jade
Strawberry Ice is a lovely color of pink, the rosy hue of a sunset on the evening clouds. There are lots of pink stones. Some you might consider are pink tourmaline, thulite, rhodonite, rhodochrosite and rose quartz.

Thulite--pink on pink
Rhodonite, ranging from a pink with a warm undertone, to cotton candy pink with black inclusions

Rhodochrosite with lacy frills of lighter pink

Or go crazy and choose complementary colors of green and pink to go together, like these examples or pink and green jade, or green jade and rose quartz.

Pink and green jade--thulite and nephrite

Apple green jade with rose quartz
The perky purple of Lavender Herb has some excellent choices with the lighter colors of amethyst. Because they are lighter in color than the royal purple color, they have a higher refractive index than the deeper hues, which means the light can enter and exit easier, making for a lively sparkle. Amethyst is tough and is a good choice for all types of jewelry. Although if you have a very large stone, you want to be careful not to chip it. Amethyst is in the quartz family, which can cleave much like glass. So if the stone is large, and it's in a ring, you want a substantial amount of metal enclosing it. Smaller stones are less likely to chip.

Another of my favorite lavender stones is a schisty lepidolite. Schist means that it has a crystalline structure that is readily visible within the stone. If you've ever seen stones with specks of mica in it, this is schist. There are bright sparkles that wink at you like glitter is embedded inside. Lepidolite is something rockhounds get excited about because it is such a pretty mineral. Here are some excellent examples below, but beware that lepidolite is fairly heavy, so unless the earrings are designed well with this in mind, you might get earrings that are too heavy to wear for extended periods of time.


Charoite is darker than lavender overall, but it has lovely silky swirls of lavender scattered throughout the darker purple. Sometimes there will be some black or brown present in the stone too.

Don't forget sapphires! Most people think sapphires are only blue, but the truth is, sapphires come in a wide range of colors--green, yellow, orange, purple, pink, and like these examples of fancy sapphire colors in lavender.

Fancy color sapphires in lavender

When you need a bright and lively color for the Pantone Tangerine, Oregon sunstone is really a shining example. It tends to have some schist in it, so it has those sparkles that wink at you, and it has a lovely saturated deep orange color.

Eye popping tangerine color in sunstones

The Pantone website can give you more descriptions and also give you ideas for complementary colors to round out your wardrobe.

I hope you've enjoyed the exploration of stones for a fashion palette!

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!