Professional Jeweler Archive: Red Hots

March 2000

Gemstones & Pearls/New Products


Red Hots

If your customers are passionate for red, show them ruby or one of the less-costly alternatives


Ruby has been celebrated for millennia as the most precious of colored gemstones, its fiery red often associated with passion and love. But ruby can be pricey, so here are some alternatives you can suggest to customers with more modest budgets.

Almandite, named for the ancient Asian town of Alabanda, is a fairly common garnet that ranges from orangy red to reddish purple.

Coral, available in various shades of red and orange, is composed of the remains of skeleton-like support structures built by colonies of tiny marine animals.

Malaya (or Malaia) garnet – one of the more expensive garnets – mixes pyrope and spessartite garnet.

Fire opal – also known as Mexican opal, gold opal or sun opal – is transparent to translucent and doesn’t show play-of-color like white or black opal.

Pyrope, meaning fiery-eyed, is part of the garnet group and was popular during the Victorian era (1837-1901). It’s generally available up to 2 carats.

Rhodolite garnet, a mixture of almandite and pyrope, is one of the best-selling garnets and is readily available in a wide range of sizes.

Spinel – a deep, rich red that rivals fine ruby – is hard, tough and suitable for daily wear.

Tourmaline comes in a wide range of colors. In red, it’s called rubellite.

Zircon is one of the few colored gems that can show visible dispersion. Take advantage of this by showing customers the flashes or rainbow-colored fire.

Before selling jewelry with gems, learn whether they are enhanced and how to care for them. Share this with customers so they are comfortable with their purchases and to reinforce their faith in you as a professional jeweler.

– by Lorraine M. Suermann

Custom 14k gold ring features a 4.72-ct. rhodolite garnet with 0.26 carat of diamond accents. Suggested retail, $2,745.

Bagley & Hotchkiss, Santa Rosa, CA; (707) 544-8557.

The top ring features a 13mm checkerboard cushion-cut raspberry rhodolite garnet and 0.80 carat of diamonds in platinum and 18k gold ($11,700 suggested retail). The bottom ring holds a 14mm trillion raspberry rhodolite garnet and 2.65 carats of diamonds in platinum and 18k gold ($16,400).

Kabana, Albuquerque, NM; (800) 521-5986 or (505) 843-9330.

Heart-shaped ring and pendant are crafted in 18k yellow and white gold. They’re each set with a 0.50-ct. trillion-cut ruby and 0.07 carat of diamonds. Suggested retail, $2,430 for the ring, $2,000 for the pendant.

Cornelis Hollander Designs Inc., Scottsdale, AZ; (480) 941-1136, fax (480) 994-5932.

A 19.18-ct. rhodolite garnet tops this hand-fabricated 18k gold bracelet featuring granulation and hand-woven chains. Suggested retail, $18,000.

Kent Raible Jewelry, Tiburon, CA; (415) 389-8885, fax (415) 389-0305.

From the Jungle Dreams collection comes this 18k gold ring with a crown-faceted rhodolite garnet.

Connie Mainne, El Cerrito, CA (510) 559-7823.

The top ring features a 5.90-ct.Burmese ruby and 2.75 carats of diamonds in platinum ($190,000 suggested retail). An 8.10-ct. Burmese ruby centers the bottom ring with 2.0 carats of diamond accents in platinum ($170,000).

Precious Gems Resources Inc., New York City; (212) 688-6700, fax (212) 688-2747.

Diamond and ruby rolling eternity band features 2.60 carats of square rubies and 0.60 carat of round diamonds in 14k gold. Suggested retail, $2,420.

OGI Wedding Bands Ltd., New York City; (212) 840-0935, fax (212) 764-7240.

18k white gold ring features a 7.84-ct. red spinel, 18k yellow gold bezel and 1.28 carats of diamond accents. Suggested retail, $22,000.

JFA Designs, Irvine, CA 92614-6019; (949) 263-9909, fax (949) 263-9910.


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