Pantone’s Spring Palette 2017

Posted by & filed under Aquamarine, Bridal, Color, Craftsmanship, Doré Collection, Duet Collection, Fancy Sapphire, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Monaco Collection, News, Omi Privé, One-of-a-Kind Collection, Padparadscha Sapphire, Sapphire, Sevilla Collection, Signature Collection, Spessartite Garnet, Spinel, Tourmaline, Trends.

Accessorizing with the Colors of the Season

 

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The trend-setting institution that is Pantone shares with the world on an ongoing basis the most important fashion colors for Spring and Fall seasons.  What do you do with this information?  Do you immediately go out shopping, with palette in hand, to ensure you are on trend with your personal apparel?  Or do you give it a quick glance, pick out a couple of your favorites and file it away for future reference?  The important aspect from our perspective of this guide to the upcoming season’s colors is how do we recommend our jewelry as an accessory to outifts in these hues.

 

For example, let’s look at what we might suggest for Island Paradise, a light, refreshing blue color.  The obvious choice if you were the type of person who likes matching accessories, would be something with aquamarine as the featured gemstone.  The light, airy feel of aqua would pair beautifully with this color.  What about a complementary color?  We would suggest something with a pastel feel, such as a light pink or peach.  A piece featuring a light pink sapphire, spinel, morganite, or in this case a Padparadscha sapphire, would be a great match.

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If we look at the more “earthy” colors in this palette, aside from finding matching colors, we will also have the opportunity to select colors that really pop against a warmer base color.  If we look at the the color Greenery, which is also Pantone’s “Color of the Year” for 2017, we would match this color with gemstones such as peridot, chrysoberyl or green tourmaline, like this ring below.  On the other side of the spectrum, you would look to something in a bolder purple, red or pink as a suitable companion.  As you can see from this Duet ring, we love combining green with purple spinel centers.

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For another example, let’s consider a rich blue color like Lapis Blue.  One of our specialties is blue sapphire, so matching this color with existing Omi jewelry is relatively easy.  The complementary color for a bold blue color like this would be an equally bold orange hue – which we would find in our new orange tourmaline ring seen below.  We can also find similar colors in spessartite garnets and orange sapphires.

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There is a myriad of options when it comes to accessorizing this Spring’s fashion color palette with fabulous colored gemstones.  Knowing and understanding how colors accent each other will go a long way in developing your fashion credibility amongst your peers and clients.  Pay attention to what the trends are and take the time to pick out the best options for you to ensure you are trend-savvy in your day-to-day life.

 

 

Color in Bridal is Back Where it Belongs

Posted by & filed under Alexandrite, Aquamarine, Award Winning, Bridal, Color, Doré Collection, Fancy Sapphire, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Kashmiri Sapphire, Omi Privé, Padparadscha Sapphire, Pink Sapphire, Sapphire, Trends.

Omi Privee ring with Kashmiri sapphire

There was a time in this great land, not too long ago, when a great behemoth of a company ruled the airwaves with a constant barrage of commercials stating that “A Diamond is Forever”. One would have been considered weird or rebellious to get engaged with anything other than a diamond. Well, things have changed here in the 21st century with a renaissance of color emerging in engagement rings. Women and men are choosing gemstones for their most important and symbolic piece of jewelry that better reflect them as individuals. It is a new age, free of any pressure or traditional bonds to choose fabulous color over the monotony of the colorless.

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Prior to the days of mass marketing’s influence on the population, colored gemstones were far more popular as a symbol of one’s love for another. In fact, sapphires were the gemstone of choice in early engagement rings, not only for their beauty, value and symbolism of love, but they were also believed to reveal any infidelity of the wearer. In the 18th and 19th century, colored gemstones were valued higher than diamonds, so it was more special for a bride to receive a rarer, more valuable colored gemstone than a more run-of-the-mill diamond.

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Today’s brides-to-be can choose from an incredible array of gemstones and hues. There are so many reasons that a person may connect with a particular type of gemstone. It could be as simple as a favorite color. It could be the origin of the gemstone. It could be a special cosmic trait that a gemstone posesses and creates a bond with the wearer. Whatever the reason, there is a universe of options available to the newly unshackled engagement ring shopper.

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There are some practical considerations that should come into the decision-making process when choosing a colored gemstone engagement ring. One of the most important factors is durability. You will wear your engagement ring for a long time, so it is imperative to select a gemstone that will stand up to the daily grind of life. Really durable gemstones include sapphires, rubies, chrysoberyl (alexandrite), topaz and spinel. Within this list, you will find every color in the rainbow to select from.  Your choices are endless and it is entirely up to the wearer as to which gemstone speaks to him or her.

 

 

Colored gemstones are returning as the symbol of love and romance as they have been throughout history.  The few decades-long blip on the radar of mass marketed colorless stones is being replaced by a new era of freedom of choice and personal expression.  We are honored and proud to be able to play a role in so many new special moments involving our beautiful colored gemstones and award-winning jewelry designs, and look forward to many more as color returns to its rightful place in the realm of romance.

 

 

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Omi Privé Holiday Gift Guide

Posted by & filed under Alexandrite, Color, Craftsmanship, Custom Collection, Duet Collection, Fancy Sapphire, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Kunzite, Omi Privé, One-of-a-Kind Collection, Opal, Ruby, Sapphire, Trends.

A little holiday season inspiration for that special someone……..

 

What do you buy for that certain someone who has everything?  Well, we at Omi Privé specialize in the rare and extraordinary, so here are a few of our suggestions for this year:

 

Incredible Australian Lightning Ridge Opal Ring

An amazing palette of color swirls around in this 13.46 carat opal.  We surround this magnificent gem with grass-green tsavorite garnets, deep ocean blue sapphires and diamonds – all set in platinum.  No two opals are alike and very few look anything like this one.
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Pastel Pinks, Purples and Blues in a Cacophony of Color

In this design collaboration with artist/designer Remy Rotenier, we started with an amazing 12.27 carat cushion-cut pink kunzite in the center then surrounded it with rose cut sapphires in pleasing pink and purple tones.  We added in a few pretty blue sapphires as accents to round out this18K rose gold ring for the free form loving artist in us all.

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Luck be a Sapphire Tonight!

If you know someone who needs a little good fortune – how about this 7.77 carat emerald cut blue sapphire from Ceylon set in platinum and surrounded by baguette diamonds and a pair of blue sapphires?  Imagine looking at this beauty everytime you pull down the handle on a one-armed bandit.

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You Can’t Buy Me Love

But, you can buy this fabulous ring……featuring a passion-inspiring, unheated 4.01 carat oval ruby from Mozambique and over a carat of diamonds set in platinum with 18K gold prongs.  This is truly one of Mother Nature’s true works of art, released by the hands of a master gem cutter.

 

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Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

Thanks to an effect known as asterism, certain cabochon-cut sapphires exhibit a star-like pattern when light is reflected off the internal silk of the gem.  Finding a fine quality sapphire that exhibits this is rare, finding a pair is much rarer.  Check out these star sapphire earrings, accented with blue sapphires and diamonds in 18K white gold.  These are sure to be a conversation-starter at any event.

 

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Emerald by Day, Ruby by Night – Introducing the Alexandrite

A lot of history and lore surrounds the magical color-change gemstone Alexandrite.  What is truly factual is the beauty and rarity of this very fine gemstone.  This 3.76 carat emerald-cut Alexandrite exhibits a deep teal blue-green in daylight and a rich raspberry-purple color in warm candlelight.  The gem originated in the exceptional chrysoberyl deposits of Brazil, which have all been played out at this time.  The gemstone is framed by a halo of diamonds, then framed again with more alexandrites that change color along with the center when the lighting conditions change.  The platinum ring shank features more alexandrites and diamonds – this is a true work of gem wizardry.

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We hope you all have a wonderful holiday season, and remember that the more you give, the more you get!

 

 

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October Birthday? Birthstone Jackpot!

Posted by & filed under Award Winning, Color, Doré Collection, Duet Collection, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Monaco Collection, Omi Privé, Opal, Pink Tourmaline, Sevilla Collection, Tourmaline, Trends.

Being born in October is not the easiest thing – you were either the youngest kid in your class or you missed the cutoff and you were one of the oldest.  Depending on where you live, the dreary Fall weather sets in and you can’t do outside birthday parties like all of your friends who have spring and summer birthdays.  But one thing that helps make it all better is that you get not one, but two fabulous gemstones as birthstones – opals and tourmalines!

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Let’s start off with opals, they are literally a phenomenal group of gemstones.  Opals are incredible spectacles of nature, formed by silica-laden water filling in cracks in rock over a hundred million years ago.  No two opals are alike, each tells their own story in colors and patterns unique to the individual gemstone.  There are many varities of opal as well.  The best known, and most valuable, opals are the Australian black opals found deep in the Outback.  Australia’s opals range in color from a milky white to plays of color including bright blues, greens, oranges and reds (the most desirable color) and can be opaque to transluscent in its crystal forms.  Mexico produces vivid orange opals, with or without a play of color, called fire opals.  A very popular form of opal that has hit the market in recent years is the Ethiopian opals, which have great plays of color.  Singular color blue opals are found in Peru, and domestically in the state of Oregon.  Opals are a favorite of Omi Privé head designer Niveet Nagpal, who has been recognized for several of his opal-centric pieces, including the 2015 Grand Prize winner in the JCK Jewelers Choice Awards.

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Tourmalines, on the other hand, are wonderful gemstones that come in almost every color hue in the rainbow.  Trace minerals mixing within the tourmaline crystal structure help determine the hue of the gemstone.  For example, the electric neon blue color of Paraiba tourmalines is due in part to the presence of copper.  Tourmalines also have special properties, they become electrically charged when heated or put under pressure.  They are also doubly refractive, which means that light separates when going into the gemstone and causes the tourmaline to appear to have more “life” than other gems.  At Omi Privé, we use tourmalines of all colors, but tend to use more greens, blues, pinks and reds (rubellite).  They are fabulous gemstones to be featured in the center of rings or pendants, either on their own or surrounded by accent stones.

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As you can see, people with October birthdays have an incredible array of gems and colors to choose from in celebrating their special day.  Opals are like small canvases of art drawn by nature, while tourmalines are charged full of life and found in all your favorite colors.

The Olympic Rings: The Meaning Behind the Colors

Posted by & filed under Color, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Omi Privé.

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While we are all in the throws of Olympic Fever (no, not the type you catch when swimming in Rio Bay!) – we thought it might be fun to explore the meaning behind the colors in the Olympic rings on the official flag.  We here at Omi Gems and Omi Privé are hyper-focused on color.

 

The multi-color interlocking rings symbol that we all associate with the Olympic Games was designed in 1912 by one of the co-founders of the modern Olympics, Baron Pierre de Coubertin.  His inspiration stemmed from the interlocking rings of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who thought the ring symbolized continuity and the human being.

 

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The five rings symbolize the five populated continents at the time: Africa, America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.  The ring colors, contrary to belief at one point, are not assigned to specific continents. The colors (including white) represented all of the colors on all of the nation’s flags who competed in the Olypics at that time.  Coubertin shared the following in 1912:

“…the six colorscombined in this way reproduce the colors of every country without exception.  The blue and yellow of Sweden, the blue and white of Greece, the tri-colors of France and Serbia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, America, Germany, Belgium, Italy, and Hungary, and the yellow and red of Spain, are placed together with the innovations of Brazil or Australia, with old Japan, and with new China.  Here is truly an international symbol.”  (Olympique magazine)

So, enjoy the rest of the Olympic Games and it’s symbolism.  We all can use a little dose of the Olympic ideal of bringing the world together to celebrate sport and life.

Spinel – August’s New Birthstone

Posted by & filed under Award Winning, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Omi Privé, Spinel.

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For more than a century, August babies have had to embrace peridot and sardonyx (a reddish-brown quartz) as their official birthstones.  Peridot is a polarizing gemstone – many people like the yellow-green hued gem, but many do not.  But fashionable people born in the eighth month can rejoice in the streets as they now have a great additional option – the spectacular spinel.

 

The American Gem Trade Association and Jewelers of America recently announced their decision to add spinel to the official birthstone list for August.  This is only the third update to the list that was created in 1912.  The last addition took place in 2002, when tanzanite was added as a birthstone for December.

 

Spinel is a gemstone that deserves more exposure and recognition.  For centuries, red spinels were mistaken for rubies and it wasn’t until more modern testing techniques were developed that the difference was identified.  In fact, one of the most prominent “rubies”, the Black Prince Ruby in the Imperial State Crown in the British Crown Jewels, is actually a 170 carat red spinel.  While a deep, vivid red is the most valuable color of spinel, the gem naturally occurs in a spectrum of colors including pink, blue, purple, yellow, black and green hues.

 

Spinels are often called the “Gemologist’s Gemstone” because of their fabulous properties, including single refractivity and octahedral crystal structure.  Unlike many gemstones, spinels are almost never treated in any way to enhance their color or clarity.  Cutters are able to release the color and life of these natural gems by faceting the rough crystals into a multitude of shapes.

 

Omi Privé has featured spinels in many of its pieces over the years and will continue to do so in upcoming collections.  Niveet is passionate about sourcing beautiful spinels, then designing  jewelry around them with complementary colors.  Just recently, one of our finest spinel pieces was recognized with a prestigious AGTA Spectrum Award – which honors jewelry design, craftsmanship and gemstone quality.

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A Sapphire by Any Other Name

Posted by & filed under Gem Knowledge, Sapphire.

Rosecut Fancy SapphiresIt’s hard to find anyone who doesn’t love sapphires, because there are so many wonderful sapphires to choose from! We thought it might be a fun time to review the different types of sapphires and perhaps add a bit of sapphire trivia to your conversational repertoire.

Blue sapphires are the most well-known and also the most popular. Most people picture rich, blueberry-blue gems when they hear or read the word sapphire. Blue sapphires are found all over the world, including Kashmir, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Madagascar, Tanzania and even the state of Montana! Sapphires have been used for nearly a millennium in the adornment of clergy and royalty, and of course Princess Diana received a magnificent sapphire engagement ring from Britain’s Prince Charles.

Pink sapphires have gained tremendous popularity since new deposits were found in Madagascar in the late 1990s. Until then, they were extremely rare. Even now they are fairly rare — particularly larger pink sapphires. As a result, stones half a carat or more are not cut into calibrated sizes. Instead, they are generally cut to retain as much of the rough as possible, and the result is that most pink sapphires of any size are also highly unique in terms of cut.

Yellow sapphires are often confused with fancy yellow diamonds. They show up in a very broad range of color from greenish yellow to orangey-yellow, and the most favored is saturated, vibrant, canary yellow. Because yellow sapphires tend to have fewer inclusions (seen as shaded or dark spots) than other colors of sapphire, you’ll often hear gem dealers speak of “clarity” when discussing yellow sapphires, but not when speaking of blues or pinks. And since yellow sapphires are more abundant than pink sapphires, cutters worry less about retaining the size of the gemstones. As a result, it’s very easy to find consistent, calibrated yellow sapphires.

Padparadscha Sapphires live in the color range between pink and orange. The term padparadscha itself is derived from the word for an aquatic lotus blossom, which, not surprisingly, has a salmon-y color. Interestingly, gemologists and collectors cannot agree on exactly what salmon color range defines a padparadscha sapphire. There is still some argument about how much orange, how much pink, how dark, how light . . . and we imagine this will go on for a while. But when a sapphire falls clearly in that salmon range, it leaves little room for debate and a premium is typically added to the price.  Omi has a long history working with Padparadscha sapphires, and they have graced many beautiful designs.

Star sapphires occur in nearly every color from transparent to green. The star occurs when small, needle-like inclusions of the mineral rutile are embedded in the sapphires, which create a light effect called asterism. In black star sapphires, the mineral inclusions are hematite instead of rutile.

The ideal star sapphire has a star that starts – and is centered on – the crown of the sapphire, with bright, clear rays that reach down to the base evenly and without interruption. As you might imagine, proper cutting is critical to preserve and showcase a natural star sapphire!

And now, let’s talk about rubies. Both rubies and sapphires are members of the mineral species corundum. A red corundum becomes a ruby – instead of a pink sapphire – when it displays a medium to very dark red tone. Rubies are found in many locales around the world, but the most desired source is Myanmar. You’ve probably heard of “Burmese Rubies,” and of course Burma is the name Myanmar was previously known by. Burmese rubies, known for their “pigeon’s blood” color, can be priced 30-40% higher than rubies from other sources.  Rubies are typically faceted, but star rubies (remember – star sapphires occur in every color!) are almost always cabochons.

What other colors do sapphires come in? Lime green, dark green (very rare), magenta, transparent, orange, brown, gray, black, violet, and lavender are all colors of sapphire. Many purple and violet sapphires shift color in different lights, appearing violet in fluorescent or daylight and deeply purple under incandescent light.

We could write an entire book on sapphires (and some have), but hopefully this overview helps you develop your love for sapphires, and understand a bit more about the many types of sapphires we use at Omi Privé.

What’s in a Mineral?

Posted by & filed under Gem Knowledge.

rough alexandrite from omi gemsPerhaps you’ve noticed how often we use the word mineral when writing about gemstones. Given the importance of minerals to our life’s work – and your jewelry viewing and wearing pleasure – we thought it might be interesting to take a moment to explore what minerals are.

First, a few Myth Busters

Most people over the age of 45 or 50 think about minerals according the designations they learned in second grade, when they were taught that all things can be assigned to the animal, vegetable, or mineral kingdoms. This is an archaic use of the term, and younger generations may have heard this information from their parents, but are no longer taught that the world can be broken down into three kingdoms.

The word mineral is also misused in geology, where anything that is obtained from the ground for use by man is called a mineral. Coal, oil, gas, granite, and obsidian are often referred to as minerals because they are mined from the ground, but for various reasons are not minerals at all.

So what is a Mineral?

The scientific definition of a mineral is something that is:

  • Naturally occurring (people did not make it).
  • Inorganic (is not made by an organism, but instead, created in the earth).
  • Solid (not liquid or gas at standard room temperature).
  • Is made of narrowly defined chemical ingredients (for example, Corundum’s chemistry is expressed as AI2O3, which means it is made of 2 aluminum atoms and 3 oxygen atoms, whereas rocks are comprised of a mixture of minerals with a much broader chemical definition).
  • Exhibits an ordered internal structure (the atoms are arranged in a systematic and repeating pattern).

There are approximately 4,000 known minerals. Many of these minerals are essential for plants to grow, are required for healthy bodies, and are used to make medicines. Minerals are also used to make the clothing we wear, the houses we live in, the cars we drive, and the roads we drive on. In fact, it is estimated that three trillion tons of mineral commodities are used to support the standard of living in the United States each year!

Are all Gemstones Minerals?

Actually, no. Amber is solidified tree resin and other fossilized organic matter, so it is not a mineral. Opal is actually a hydrated form of silica without a clearly defined shape or form, so it cannot be a mineral. Pearls are not minerals because they are formed by a living organism, and they do not have a distinctive crystal structure. Of course, anything that is created in a laboratory or made with synthetics is not a mineral, though minerals are probably part of the materials they are made of.

Thank Goodness for Minerals!

Minerals are not only essential to sustain life on this planet; the majority of gems are also minerals. Rubies, garnets, sapphires, emerald, aquamarine, citrine — all are minerals that can be cut, shaped and polished. So not only do minerals feed us, clothe us, provide beautiful landscapes and functional buildings; they are also responsible for giving us the incredibly beautiful gems we view in museums, collect in pouches and drawers, and wear as adornment in jewelry. No wonder so many of us naturally gravitate to the splendor of natural colored gemstones! They truly are the stuff of life.

Looking at Gemstones the Mohs Way

Posted by & filed under Gem Knowledge.

Mohs Scale of Hardness

Image Courtesy of GIA

If you’ve ever heard the phrase “diamonds are the hardest material on earth” (and who hasn’t?), though you may not have known it, you were referring to the Mohs scale. The Mohs scale was created by a German mineralogist named Friedrich Mohs in 1822 to measure the relative hardness of minerals. He had been hired by a banker who had a very large collection of minerals, and he wanted Mohs to curate them. In order to properly curate the collection, Mohs had to sort the minerals, and at that time there was no acceptable method for categorizing minerals. Some scientists used color, others used geographic origin, and still others used various geometric characteristics.

Mohs noticed that some minerals scratched the surface of other minerals, and using that observtion he decided to explore their relative hardness. Though the minerology establishment at the time widely criticized Mohs for considering hardness as a meaningful characteristic, Mohs was ultimately validated. Today the Mohs scale is recognized as one of the most important measures of mineral categorization.

We’ve already mentioned that the diamond is at the top of the Mohs scale. Its measure of “absolute hardness” is 10. So what is at the bottom? Talc, with a measure of 1. We all know talcum powder, but some of the other elements in the Mohs scale — like fluorite and calcite — are less familiar to us in their mineral form. However, you probably do know minerals like quartz (7), and topaz (8).

Another good way to wrap your mind around Mohs hardness is to consider the Mohs rating of more every-day items:

  • Maple or Oak hardwood floors are 1.3 – 1.4
  • A fingernail has a hardness of 2
  • The average knife blade has a hardness of 5
  • The window panes in your house are 5.5
  • Granite countertops are typically around a 7
  • Tempered glass — like the average windshield — is usually a 7
  • Bulletproof glass could be anywhere from 8 – 9

The Mohs scale is very important to us as we decide how to set various gemstones. Some gemstones are much softer than others, so how a gemstone will be worn must be considered. You’ve probably heard before that pearl rings are best saved for special occasions. Why? Because pearls are between 2.5 – 4.5 on the Mohs scale, so they scratch rather easily. Along with pearls, amber (2-2.5), coral (3-4) and malachite (3.5 – 4) all tend to last longest when worn in pendants or earrings because of their relative softness.  Take more care in storing these softer gemstones by wrapping them in cloth or placing them in separate pouches.

At Omi Privé, we admire any gemstone that represents the best of its kind. If we find something rare and beautiful, we want you to see it. But for the most part, we work with gems that are a hardness of 7 or above, because these gems allow the most options for wearability. Diamonds may be the hardest on the scale at a 10, but rubies and sapphires are very durable at 9. Topaz, chrysoberyl, and spinel have a Mohs hardness of 8, and aquamarine and emerald are between 7.5 – 8.  Quartz is a 7 and is the most common mineral on Earth.  Because quartz is the most common mineral in dust, any gemstone softer than 7 can be scratched by common dust and, therefore, should be treated with more care than harder gems.

So the next time you’re looking at a gemstone, remember that it’s not just characterized by its color, its type, or its absolute beauty. Every gemstone also has a hardness rating on the Mohs scale, thanks to a fellow nearly 200 years ago who was faced with a sorting project.