The continued demand for diamonds and other precious gemstones has resulted in hundreds of years of destruction of ecosystems and whole communities. At Jaume Labro, we follow the route of each gemstone and guarantee that we only purchase the highest-quality pieces which follow the strictest restrictions and regulations.
That said, choosing a gemstone can be a tough process, and we’d like to make that process a bit easier. So here is a list of our favorite gemstones to work with and some facts that may influence your next custom jewelry piece!
The Indian diamond trade began around 6,000 years ago and began making its way to Venice in the 15th century, mesmerizing the aristocracy and upper-class. Without a question, April’s birthstone is the most famous and desired of the precious stones in the modern world. Not only do we adorn our fingers and necks with diamonds, but as one of the hardest surfaces on the planet, they’re also used for their cutting abilities.
There’s a gem myth that colorless diamonds are considered rare, but actually, only 0.1% of all mined diamonds are colored. Green, orange, pink, blue, and yellow are extraordinary finds, but pure red diamonds are almost completely unheard of, with the exception of pieces like The Moussaieff Red. That isn’t to say that colorless diamonds can’t be absolute showstoppers. We’re here to help you create the perfect custom piece in order to show off the clarity, cut, and color of a beautiful diamond.
The soothing, calming green of an emerald has been valued for millennia.
Romans believed that their vision would be restored by looking through them. Egyptians maintained these green healing stones would ease childbirth ward off evil spirits. Throughout the world, people still believe that May’s birthstone alleviates depression, cures bodily dysfunction, and even helps users predict the future.
Whether or not you believe in the healing powers of these gorgeous green stones, one thing is absolutely certain: transparent emeralds are so rare that flaws are often overlooked, and celebrated like a type of fingerprint. Should you come into the possession of an emerald, take care when wearing it, as they may not always be resistant to scratching.
When it comes to October’s birthstone, there just simply isn’t anything else like them. In ancient Greece, opals were considered to be magical sorts of stones that could cure eye disorders or – if the stone had a great amount of ‘play of color ‘(or ‘fire’) – you’d stand to make money. Some still believe that black opals are used in magic and witchcraft practices. Unfortunately, in modern society, opals still have an unfair reputation for causing bad luck. Most gemologists attribute this rumor to the fragility of opals, especially during the cutting process, which can frustrate unseasoned jewelers. They’re incredibly delicate stones, with a Mohs hardness of 5.5 to 6, so be sure to purchase one in a setting – like a channel or a bezel – that protects its surface.
Opals are so stunning that they’re absolutely worth the risk! From a milky white through the full color spectrum, no two opals are alike. When you fall in love with a specific one, you’ll know just what we mean!
Rubies are understandably a favorite gem of many and – as a rarer stone – typically more valuable than a diamond of a similar size. For hundreds of years, these gemstones have been celebrated in southern Asian cultures for their auspicious properties. Ancient Hindus believed that by offering rubies as a tribute to Krishna, they would be reincarnated as rulers, and Burmese warriors even wore these stones under their skin for protection!
You can find July’s gemstone in a variety of red hues, from crimson to a deep pink, but pigeon’s blood red is the ideal color for a ruby. Nearly all rubies have inclusions, or an imperfection, so don’t let this dissuade you from enjoying their beauty. An absolutely perfect ruby is an incredible find but price-reflective. Like sapphires, rubies are second in hardness only to diamonds, scoring a 9 on the Mohs scale, which allows for daily wear without damage.
These gorgeous stones react beautifully under light and make for timeless and cherished pieces.
Typically known for its blue hues, sapphires can actually be a wide range of colors like yellow, pink, green, blue and an orange-pink called ‘padparadscha’, or ‘lotus flower’ derived from the Sinhalese language. Greek and Roman nobility believed that the September birthstone protected their wearers from harm, and sapphire signet rings became a mainstay in royal courts, as well as the Church, and also provided wisdom and inner peace.
When choosing a sapphire, it’s good to understand that nearly all have been treated in some way to boost color. In fact, only about 0.5%-1% of sapphires are of high enough quality that treatment isn’t necessary. These gems are called “untreated”. “Natural” sapphires, however, have not been lab-created, but are very likely to have been treated either with heat, or chemicals if they are of lower quality.
Jaume Labro chooses only to use heat-treated, high-quality sapphires in his pieces.
Amethyst stones have a special place in February babies’ hearts, and this purple semi-precious gemstone has had great admirers for millennia. Deriving from the Ancient Greek word “amethystos”, which translates to “not drunken”, many believers maintained that wearing an amulet would keep them from intoxication. In Hebrew, the word “ahlamah” translates to “dream”, and if you should dream of an amethyst stone, you’ll be protected from harm. Over the centuries, farmers wore the purple quartz to defend their fields from predatory insects and bad weather.
In addition to its protective qualities, amethyst was prized for its beautiful purple hue. You may find a wide range of shades of gemstones, from lilac to lavender to deep violet, though the ideal amethyst example is a deep purple with red and/or blue streaks. Today, however, nearly all amethyst gemstones are heat-treated to provide depth of color. This is often a benefit, rather than a hindrance, as many varieties of amethyst fade when routinely exposed to light.
The closest gemological relative to amethyst is citrine, a reddish-brown or pale yellow quartz stone originally thought to encourage creativity and enhance personal finances. Once regularly confused for topaz, November’s birthstone has overtaken it in terms of popularity, and Art Deco-style pieces have become sought after by those looking for warm, natural color, and expressiveness.
Most citrine today is heat-treated to garner that gorgeous glow. You can typically see the reddish tints of heat-treated citrine and less violet and purple. Because of this, amethyst in lighter shades is also often heat-treated to produce citrine.
The name of the garnet comes directly from the Latin, “garanatus” which refers to the red seeds of the pomegranate. Greeks believed that a pomegranate was connected to love, as well as eternity. While garnets can be a wide range of colors, including white, orange, yellow, green (including demantoid), and even black, garnets are typically thought of as a deep brownish-red.
January’s birthstone came first, not only in the calendar, but also with Egyptian pharaohs who wore incredible garnet necklaces in this life and the afterlife, and Roman nobility who used garnet gemstones for sealing documents. Religion has played an enormous role in the perpetuation of this gemstone, with Christians representing Christ’s sacrifice with garnets, and the Koran stating that the 6th heaven is made of garnets and rubies.
With the discovery of garnet mines in Bohemia in the 16th century, the market supplied an ever-hungry European demand. Garnet is one of the few semi-precious stones that doesn’t need to be treated, and can be cut into nearly every shape and size with relative ease.
For March birthdays, the deep blue of an aquamarine gem should be familiar. Translated from Latin, its name refers to the cerulean waves of seawater. In addition to the protection given to sailors, aquamarine was known to reawaken the love between a husband and wife. Perhaps the strangest of reasons for popularity in the Middle Ages was the belief that aquamarine protected wearers from being poisoned (a popular method for regicide).
Currently, the strongest competitor of aquamarine is treated blue topaz. Most gemstone providers heat-treat their aquamarine gemstones, but Jaume Labro only accepts the highest quality of natural aquamarines. Typically, you need a larger-sized stone to reveal deeper blue hues, so a smaller aquamarine with the same color will typically sell for more money per carat. Due to its hardness of 7.5 on the Mohs scale, you can find aquamarine
cut into a variety of shapes and sizes.
The word “peridot” comes from the Arabic word, “faridat”, or “gem”. August’s birthstone may also occasionally be known as Olivine. Unlike the vast majority of gemstones, peridot will only be found in greenish hues, from a lime-green to a dark olive green. Romans appreciated its unchanging color, whether in daylight or candlelight, and called it an “evening emerald”. Cleopatra was also known to favor the gemstone, stories say.
Unfortunately, many people overlook the gorgeous qualities and subtleties of this rare stone, but over the last few decades, collectors and jewelry enthusiasts have been steadily snatching up pieces. And while larger peridot gemstones are more difficult to obtain at the moment, it’s a great time to purchase medium-sized and small-sized pieces. Historically, peridot is known to build stronger and more successful relationships and marriages. Why wait?
Choosing the Perfect Stone
Regardless of how you choose to complement your custom Jaume Labro piece, you’ll be sure to find mesmerizing combinations of precious and semi-precious gemstones. Be sure to browse through our unique fine jewelry pieces to tantalize and inspire your senses!