Objects of desire... Emissaries of intrigue. Vividly colored gemstones have been highly prized since ancient times. Throughout the years, many believed the stones possessed magical powers. Even today, they are collected and coveted. Colored jewels do so much more than adorn. They elicit emotional responses. People are drawn to their intrinsic beauty, their traditions and their unique ability to enhance the wearer.Shane Co. Colored Stones
Shane Co. specializes in rubies and sapphires. Known globally as the 'gemstone capital of the world,' Bangkok, Thailand, is the epicenter for the world's finest colored stones. Tom Shane travels to Bangkok and hand-selects each and every stone for consistent color and exceptional sparkle. Shane Co. is very selective. Our rubies are a vibrant red, and our sapphires come in an array of saturated colors ranging from the traditional blue to pink, ice blue, yellow, lavender and green.
A symbol of love and immortality, the ruby has been the focus of many myths and legends throughout the centuries. In ancient times, Hindus believed rubies possessed an inextinguishable inner fire, causing the stones to shine through clothing. The vibrant, red gem was commonly thought by some cultures to bless wearers with health, wealth, wisdom and success in affairs of the heart. Rubies also have been traditionally associated with charity, dignity and divine power.
Rubies are always fashionable and complement virtually everyone who wears them. In addition to being the official birthstone for July and the traditional gift for 40th wedding anniversaries, the ruby frequently is given in celebration of the birth of a daughter.Ruby Basic Facts
||9.0 on the Mohs Scale|
The ruby is one of the hardest and most durable gems, ideal for all types of jewelry. It consists of crystallized corundum with a small percentage of chromium oxide, which creates varying shades ranging from pale pink to deep crimson. As a member of the corundum mineral family, the ruby is a close cousin to the sapphire. Depending on the depth of pink in the stone, it may be classified as either a sapphire or a ruby: The deeper pink gems are considered rubies, while paler pinks are considered sapphires.
Rubies are treasured, first and foremost, for their intense color. Secondary in importance is the stone's brilliance and liveliness. Truly fine rubies of any size above two carats are very scarce and are seldom seen outside the Far East. Inclusions are common; yet rather than indicating poor quality, they distinguish genuine stones from synthetic ones.Origins and Quality
The name 'ruby' comes from the Latin word 'rubeus,' meaning 'red.' The finest rubies are often described as 'pigeon's blood' - a spectacular shade of red with a hint of blue, superb transparency and exceptional fire and brilliance.
Much like rubies, sapphires have been the subject of many myths and legends throughout history. The ancient Persians believed the Earth rested on a great sapphire, the reflection of which gave the sky its blue color. As a "royal gem," sapphires were thought to protect kings against envy and harm. Their supposed medicinal powers, particularly regarding the ability to remove all impurities and foreign matter from the eyes, were legendary. Sapphires came to symbolize truth, sincerity, faithfulness and even long-lasting love. The sapphire is the official birthstone of September and the traditional gift for the 5th, 23rd and 45th wedding anniversaries.Sapphire Basic Facts
||Traditional Blue, Ice Blue, Pink, Yellow, Green, and Lavender|
||9.0 on the Mohs Scale|
As a fellow member of the corundum gem family, the sapphire is a close cousin to the ruby. Sapphires are most popular as blue gems, the most valued specimens of which are a vivid cornflower or electric blue. Sapphires also are found naturally in a range of other colors, making them very versatile. When corundum stones are found in colors other than red (ruby) or blue, they are called fancy sapphires.
Because corundum is the second-hardest substance (next to diamonds), sapphires resist scratching and are well suited for all kinds of jewelry. They are available in a wide variety of price ranges. Like rubies, the primary factor in determining sapphire value is rarity of color. Brilliance, consistency and depth of color also are factors.Origins and Quality
For years, the most desirable blue sapphires were a velvety, violet-tinged cornflower blue known as Kashmir Sapphires. These high-quality stones are associated with legendary mines in Kashmir, India, but also are found in Thailand.
Sapphires from other areas of Asia are characterized by a fine, rich or royal blue that is almost electric in color. Compared with Kashmir sapphires, they look "inky" under artificial light and lose some of their color.
Thai or Siamese sapphires tend to be a very dark blue to bluish-black color, but gemstones approaching the quality of Kashmir sapphires are often found in Thailand as well.
Sapphires of varying colors and qualities also can be found in Sri Lanka (Ceylon), Montana, Africa and Australia. Sapphire Colors
Although sapphires are famous for their vibrant, brilliant shade of blue, many people are unaware that sapphires are found naturally in a wide assortment of hues. In addition to the traditional blue, some of the most common colors used for jewelry include ice blue, yellow, green, lavender and pink. Blue sapphires get their color from iron and titanium. A small amount of iron creates yellow and green tones, while chromium produces pink.
While fancy sapphires tend to be slightly more affordable than the traditional blue variety, these stones are still corundum. As the fashion world progresses, sapphires in natural pastel shades are growing increasingly popular.Heat Treating of Colored Stones
Virtually all rough rubies and sapphires sold throughout the world are heat treated before they are cut and polished. This causes a reaction in the mineral that gives the gemstones their true permanent color.
Shane Co. sells only naturally mined rubies and sapphires, never lab-created stones sold by many other jewelers.What Determines the Value of a Colored Gem?
Not surprisingly, color is the single most important determinant of value in colored stones. Second most important is the cut of the stone, which maximizes the gemstone's life and brilliance. Generally, the more closely a gemstone approximates its pure spectral color, the more desirable it is. And the better the cut, the better the depth of color and liveliness of the stone. Clarity and carat weight may also affect value.
Numerous other characteristics contribute to the quality and value of colored gems, including:
||The intensity of how a stone catches light and displays life|
||How the stone enhances one's appearance (closely related to its color)|
||The stone's ability, when set in jewelry, to withstand normal wear|
||The available supply (the harder to find, the higher the cost)|
||How desirable a stone is in the current market|
||Using gems for adornment, symbolism or as a means of exchange|
||In times of turmoil, gems are an investment that can be readily moved|
When evaluating a colored gem, ask yourself the following questions:
Is the shade of color attractive?
Does the stone have brilliance and life?
Is the color too dark or too light?
Is the stone uniformly brilliant, or does it have "flat" areas with no life?
Does the stone appeal to me overall?Color
Color is affected by a number of variables and primarily by the type and intensity of the light. A stone's color can appear to change under different lights and environments. A ruby, for example, will not look as red under fluorescent lighting as it will under ordinary incandescent lights or daylight.
Clearly, color is a very subjective matter in terms of what is considered attractive and desirable. Generally, the closer a colored stone comes to the pure spectral hue of that color, the better the color and the more valued the stone. The spectral colors go from pure red to pure violet. White, black, gray and brown are not spectral colors, but they do affect the tone of a stone's color, and, ultimately, the grading. In general, gemstones that are either very light (pale) or very dark sell for less per carat. A rich, deep color is desirable, but not when it approaches black.
Factors commonly used to describe color:
||precise spectral color|
||brightness or vividness|
||lightness or darkness|
||consistency or evenness of color distribution|
||depth and richness of color|
A good lapidary (gem cutter) optimizes the proportions of the cut to bring out a stone's maximum intensity and color, making it very desirable. A poor cut significantly reduces the stone's vividness and depth of color.
Color may not always be evenly distributed throughout the stone but instead exist in zones, layers or spots, giving the appearance of color in areas of the stone that are actually colorless. The evenness and complete saturation of color will greatly affect the value of the gem.Cut
The cut and proportion affect the depth of color and the liveliness projected by the colored stone. Unlike diamonds, there is no "ideal cut" for colored stones. They are cut to maximize weight recovery and consistency of color from the rough crystal. The criteria for judging cut quality in colored stones also are quite different from diamonds. Oftentimes, the proportions needed to produce the best color in a stone would be considered quite poor if that stone were a diamond.Clarity
As with diamonds, clarity refers to a colored stone's purity or absence of internal inclusions (tiny spots, fractures or anything trapped within the crystal). While clarity is important, there is less expectation for colored stones to be free of natural markings. Depending on the type of gemstone, an absence of inclusions in a colored stone can be even more rare than in a diamond and command a higher cost per carat.
The lighter the stone, the more visible the inclusions will be. In a darker stone, deeper color may mask inclusions, making them matter less. A greater concern for colored gems is the type and placement of inclusions. A large crack (called a feather) near the surface of a stone makes it less durable and disrupts the play of light, detracting from the value. A small, unobtrusive fracture will have minimal effect on the gem's durability, beauty and value. Some natural markings can be desirable to the degree that they validate the origin or variety of the stone.Weight, Size and Density
Excluding coral and pearls, all gems are priced by the carat; typically, the greater the weight, the greater the value per carat (under 50 carats). However, there are a few colored stone varieties that become less valuable per carat if they are too large to be mounted. Also, weight and size are not the same thing. Some stones weigh more than others because the density (specific gravity) of the basic mineral is heavier. If a diamond weighs 1.00 carats, the same sized ruby or sapphire would weigh approximately 1.20 carats.
Some stones are readily available in large sizes. Scarcity of particular sizes among the different colored stones will dictate what is considered "large" in the market. Like diamonds, colored stones of less than one carat sell for less per carat than stones of a full carat or more. Again, what is considered "large" or "rare" differs by stone type.
The industry actually measures colored stones by dimensions in millimeters in addition to carat weight. Millimeter size of the stone often matters more-especially when matching colored stones for a ring, earrings, or other types of jewelry.