Professional Jeweler Archive: Color Cravings

January 2002


Color Cravings

Vivid colors, unusual cuts and alternative gemstones satisfy the appetite of today's sophisticated consumer

Buying colored gemstone jewelry can be fun, easy and affordable for your customers. Gems come in limitless sizes, shapes and colors, so there’s a perfect one for everybody.

Sapphire, Ruby & Emerald

The blue hues of sapphire still top the most-wanted list, thanks in part to wide availability, but ruby’s fiery reds are closing the gap. “The market is flooded with blue sapphire, so some consumers are tiring of it,” says Susan Gesser, production manager at Hubert Gem Designs, Los Angeles, CA. “Ruby is more available than in the past and is more interesting to consumers tired of blue.”

Though most Big Three devotees like vivid color, younger consumers who want to step outside tradition – but not too far – are showing interest in the lighter blues of Montana sapphires and lighter green emeralds, colors shown in this year’s fashion magazines.

Widespread Color

The harvest tones of citrine, hessonite garnet and Umba sapphire are claiming a larger spot alongside the blues and greens that have dominated in the past few years. And even the most popular blues and greens are becoming more electric. Ocean blue topaz, shimmery aquamarine, vibrant green peridot and lime quartz are kicking pastels to the curb. “These strong colors make bold statements,” says Dale Westreich, owner of Dale Novick Ltd., Albertson, NY.

Mixing and Not Quite Matching

The outpouring of patriotism since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks has pushed the multiple-color trend up a few notches. “Red, white and blue combinations are so hot we can’t keep them in stock,” says Keven Pecker, president and CFO of Color Merchants, New York City. But aside from patriotic jewelry, you’ll find more takers for two-color combos. The freshest look: Different tones of the same color. “Tonal mixing works great – if you have the right tones,” says Janis Kerman of Janis Kerman Design, Westmount, Quebec, Canada. Getting the right tones can be time-consuming, adds Bob Aletto of Aletto & Co., Boca Raton, FL. “You have to buy, sort and pick over large amounts of goods to offer something truly tonal,” he says. “Despite the obstacles, the look is beautiful.”


Cuts to be craved this season include cabochons with faceted bottoms, antique cushions and ovals, emerald and radiant cuts, squares with clipped corners, buff tops with gem-cut bottoms, top scissor cuts and checkerboards.

On the Horizon

Earrings. Buttons, hoops and smaller dangles look appropriately minimalist as consumers cut back in this weak economy. Birthstone studs are nostalgic favorites.

Necklaces. Smaller and simpler.

Rings. Cocktail, stackable and interchangeable rings are selling well. The interest in three-stone diamond rings will extend to colored gem jewelry.

Bracelets. Look for everything from cuffs to line bracelets. Links are unusual but elegant. Art Deco styles are desirable. The X&O motif is back.

Brooches. Convertible pin/pendant styles keep this category alive. U.S. flags and insect motifs are selling well.

The Last Word

“We are at war so pricing has to be for mid-America,” says Robert Manse, vice president of sales and marketing at Color Merchants. “Keep looks stunning and gem size appealing, but set prices so everyone can afford to buy.”

– by Lorraine M. O'Donnell, A.J.P.

18k gold pendant and ring are each set with 4mm-by-4mm amethysts. Suggested retail, $375 for the pendant, $575 for the ring.

Breuning Inc., Lawrenceville, GA; (678) 377-1673, fax (678) 377-1674,

Custom-made platinum earrings are set with 3.69 carats of Burma sapphires surrounded by round brilliant diamonds. Earrings have omega clip backs. Suggested retail, $44,000.

Alan Friedman Co., Beverly Hills, CA; (800) 489-4545 or (310) 278-4944, fax (310) 248-5449,,

1.02 carats of half-moon rubies and 0.29 carat of round diamonds flank a 5.02-ct. Burmese ruby in this platinum and 18k gold ring. Suggested retail, $183,150.

Michael Beaudry, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 623-5025, fax (213) 623-2261.

14k gold pendant features a 14.81-ct. rutilated star quartz and a 0.14-ct. pyrope garnet. Suggested retail, $1,895.

Murphy Design, Minneapolis, MN; (800) 998-8883 or (612) 333-0144, fax (612) 344-1640,,

Photo by Corey Morse.

18k gold scarf rings are set with oval tourmaline cabochons. Each tourmaline is 2 carats. Suggested retail, $1,500-$1,800.

Dale Novick Ltd., Albertson, NY; (516) 248-1600, fax (516) 294-8946.

18k gold earrings are channel-set with 1.50 carats of blue, pink, yellow and green princess-cut sapphires. Suggested retail, $1,350.

Eichhorn, San Jose, CA; (408) 777-9894, fax (408) 777-9678,

Free-form sterling silver pendant holds an Australian opal doublet and is $99 suggested retail. Matching earrings, $75.

Idaho Opal & Gem Corp., Pocatello, ID; (800) 635-9800 or (208) 233-4059, fax (208) 233-0120.

14k gold ring features black and white cultured pearls and 0.11 carat of diamond accents. Keystone, $900.

Carl K. Gumpert Inc./Pacific Gem Cutters, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 626-6531, fax (213) 627-4406.

14k gold jewelry suite is from the Mosaic collection featuring amethysts and diamonds.

Color Merchants, New York City; (800) 356-3851 or (212) 682-4788, fax (212) 682-1306.

A cushion-cut pink tourmaline centers this 18k white and yellow gold Signature Fit ring with diamond pavé accents.

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

14k white gold slider features a tanzanite accented with colored diamonds.

Maria C. Designs, Albuquerque, NM; (866) 500-0908, fax (505) 332-7300,

18k gold earrings are set with serpentine tourmaline, hessonite garnet and peach moonstone. Suggested retail, $1,060.

Janis Kerman Design, Westmount, Quebec, Canada; (514) 931-3852, fax (514) 932-6141.

Photo by Larry Turner.

18k white gold Boundaries pendant comprises a rainbow of sapphires. Suggested retail, $1,390.

BAM Designs by Burdett A. Milkins, Monroe, MI; (734) 242-1023, fax (734) 242-1155.

14k ring and earrings hold oval turquoises. The ring is $1,000 suggested retail, the earrings are $1,512.

Aletto & Co., Boca Raton, FL; (800) 889-3142, fax (561) 338-5548.

Platinum ring cradles a 22.51-ct. square Colombian emerald and has over 6 carats of round and princess-cut diamond accents on the shank. Suggested retail, $760,000.

Siegelson, New York City; (212) 832-2666, fax (212) 832-2882,,

18k white gold suite features a 57.20-ct. heart-shaped rubellite, 86.40 carats of square and cushion-cut rubellites, 4.53 carats of G-H/VS square diamonds and 12.37 carats of round diamonds. Suggested retail, $92,500.

Hubert Gem Designs, Los Angeles, CA; (213) 627-0234, fax (213) 627-0659.

18k gold ring features a red garnet.

Skalet Fine Jewelry, Chicago, IL; (800) 621-8185, fax (773) 477-0557.

This one-of-a-kind golden beryl brooch depicts a city scene with 18k Sabi and polished gold finishes. Diamonds sparkle as water under the bridge, while a rectangular yellow diamond reflects the sunset.

Henry Dunay, New York City; (800) 888-2525 or (212) 768-9700, fax (212) 944-0308.

14k gold earrings and pendant are set with tanzanite and diamonds. Also available in 18k.

Connoisseur Collection, Marietta, GA; (888) 427-8886.

Copyright © 2002 by Bond Communications