Sapphires – So Much More Than Just Blue

Posted by & filed under Award Winning, Doré Collection, Duet Collection, Fancy Sapphire, Gem History, Gem Knowledge, Monaco Collection, Omi Privé, Pink Sapphire, Sapphire, Trends.

 

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When you think of a sapphire, a blue gemstone probably comes to mind first.   This is not surprising as the blue sapphire is considered one of the three Classic Gemstones, along with emerald and ruby, and has been valued for centuries.  Yet, as hallowed a place that blue sapphires hold in the gemstone world, we can’t ignore the other colors of sapphire that are special in their own right.

 

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Sapphire is the gem variety of the mineral corundum.  Corundum comes in all colors of the spectrum and is called sapphire for every color except red, when it is referred to as ruby.  A sapphire’s value is determined by several factors including color, clarity and origin.  Whether a sapphire is treated in some way, generally by heating, can affect its value as well.  Let’s look at a few examples of some of our favorite fancy color sapphires.

 

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Pink Sapphire:

 

Sapphires come in many shades of pink, from super vivid to a barely discernable wisp.   Value is often determined by the saturation of pink throughout the gem, but with lighter pink sapphires, the quality of the cutting and clarity may have a bigger impact.  A premium is placed on sapphires that are completely natural with no external enhancements or treatments.  The 6.61 carat pink sapphire is one of those special, natural pink sapphires.

 

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Padparadscha Sapphire:

Named after the lotus flower blossom of Sri Lanka, the orangey-pink Padparadscha sapphire is a favorite amongst colored gemstone connoisseurs.  These special sapphires are rare in their optimal color and typically demand a hefty premium over pink or orange sapphires.  As you can see above with this 5.73 carat oval, we love to surround our padparadscha sapphires with rose gold to complement the color.

 

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Purple Sapphire:

 

Some of the prettiest sapphires are in the purple family.  These gems range in color including lilac, lavender and deep, royal purple.  The color is believed to be a result of trace amounts of vanadium in the sapphire.  We love to work with sapphires in this color range, often pairing them with pink sapphires in rose gold for a very rich look.

 

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Green Sapphire:

 

Fine green sapphires are rare, bold and really beautiful.  The green color is caused by trace amounts of iron within the gemstone.  The color ranges from pale to rich, dark shades.   When we obtain a top quality green sapphire, we like to accent it with alexandrites and diamonds for an interesting combination – as can be seen in the ring above.

 

We could use up a lot more space going on and on about all of the different colors of sapphire, but we need to leave some for us to discuss in a future blog.  Sapphires in all colors are a great addition to any collection as they are durable and have lasting value.  The best part is that no matter what your favorite color is that there is a sapphire available for you in that color.  We always have a great selection of fancy colored sapphire jewelry on hand or we can provide an unset gemstone for custom designs.  Call or email us today.

 

 

 

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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Sapphires – September’s Magnificent Birthstone

Posted by & filed under Award Winning, Bridal, Color, Fancy Sapphire, Omi Privé, One-of-a-Kind Collection, Sapphire.

Sapphire is one of the most revered gemstones in the world.  It has held special meaning from the most ancient of times when it was worn as a symbol of power, wealth and as protection from harm and witchcraft.  It is even said that the Ten Comandments were given to Moses on tablets of sapphire.  As sapphires made their way into more modern pieces of jewelry, their siginificance and value continued to rise.  Sapphires are found in the world’s most important royal jewelry pieces – so much so that sapphire is considered a “royal” gem. One royal-related piece that has garnered incredible attention in recent years is the blue sapphire engagement ring that Prince Charles gave to Diana, and subsequently that Prince William gave to Kate Middleton.

 

 

Sapphire is probably best known as a blue gemstone, but it is found in every color of the spectrum.  When a sapphire is red, it is called a ruby.  This wide palette of colors gives jewelry designers a lot of flexibility in creating colorful, all-sapphire designs.  Sapphires are an excellent gemstone to use in everyday jewelry because of its durability – as it is the second hardest gemstone behind only diamond.  A recent trend, maybe with help from Will and Kate, has seen many couples choosing sapphires for their engagement rings over diamonds – either in the traditional blue sapphire with a diamond halo, or in other colors as in the purple and pink sapphire ring below.  Sapphires durability makes it suitable for everyday wear.

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Would you say “Yes” to this engagement ring?

 

Sapphires are found in many countries around the world, including the United States.  Most of our sapphires come from Sri Lanka/Ceylon, Madagascar and Myanmar/Burma.  In most of these places sapphires are still mined by hand by artisanal miners in very remote areas.  We travel the globe to find sapphires that best meet our strict standards and our clients’ needs.  Fine sapphires are rare and prices have risen steadily for many years as demand continues to be very strong, which makes fine sapphire a nice long term investment.  There is nothing more fulfilling for us than sourcing a gorgeous sapphire, designing a beautiful jewelry piece around it, then having someone appreciate it enough to add it to their personal jewelry collection.

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Award-winning Omi Prive’ sapphire and diamond platinum bracelet

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.

Blasts from the Past

Posted by & filed under Gem History, Sapphire.

Star of India SapphirePaola de Luca’s Trend Book 2017 is a treasure trove of predictions about emerging consumer needs and tastes in jewelry. One of the predictions we find most interesting is that consumers want jewelry with historical references. We’ve seen indications of this trend as well.

In the larger jewelry world, this trend may show up as an interest in coin jewelry, crown rings, and reliefs of historical monuments and art. In the colored gemstone world, history is rich with stories of royal jewels, dramatic love stories, grand thefts, and even battles.

At Omi Privé we’re not just gem nerds, we love our history too. One story that never loses its luster is the story of the Star of India, a 563-carat star sapphire that is believed to be over a billion years old. It is the size of a golf ball, nearly flawless, and it has stars on both sides of the gemstone — all of which are highly unusual.

It was originally purchased by esteemed mineralogist and collector George Frederick Kunz (1856 – 1932) on behalf of Tiffany & Co. It was part of a collection Kunz had convinced his bosses at Tiffany to build in order to gain more respect from European gem and jewelry collectors, and which was ultimately purchased by J.P. Morgan and donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. Unfortunately, nothing is known about the history of the Star of India prior to its purchase in Sri Lanka in the late 1800s. Kunz himself wrote in 1913 that the Star of India “has a more or less indefinite historic record of some three centuries,” which indicates that it was mined in the 1600s; but even that may be speculation.

So the story of the Star of India begins with a mystery. Now let’s add some action. On October 29, 1964, two amateur thieves scaled a fence into the American Museum of Natural History’s courtyard, climbed a fire escape, and hung a rope from a pillar set over the 4th floor windows of the J.P. Morgan Hall of Gems and Minerals. Inside that Hall, the Star of India was on display. Hanging from the rope, one of the thieves swung to a window that was cracked open, and used his feet to open the window the rest of the way.

Using a glass cutter, some duct tape, and a squeegee, they stole 24 gems – including the Star of India. Then the thieves, Allan Dale Kuhn and Jack Roland Murphy, retraced their steps, grabbed separate taxis, and rode off with their valuable loot.

In the six months that followed, the Star of India led state and federal police on a wild goose chase involving anonymous foreign collectors, an upper West Side party palace, handsome bad boys, jilted lovers, suicide, a red Cadillac, an underwater hiding place, disguising one of the thieves as a police officer to spirit him off to Miami, and the pistol-whipping of Eva Gabor.

How’s that for a bit of history? We bet you’ll never look at a star sapphire the same way again.

What’s Old is New Again: Colored Gemstone Wedding Jewelry

Posted by & filed under Bridal, Ruby, Sapphire.

Omi Privee ring with Kashmiri sapphireThough diamonds are currently the gem of choice in engagement rings, it was only in the 20th century that diamonds became popular. Before the 20th century, colored gemstones had a long history of being considered most precious.

Engagement rings as we know them began as a result of Pope Innocent III implementing a mandatory waiting period between engagement and marriage in the year 1215. Until that time, people simply married once they made the decision to do so. Couples in the limbo between not-married and married began to exchange symbols of commitment, and the engagement ring was born. Jump forward 150-200 years, and it was the sapphire that was the favorite engagement gemstone, because it symbolized love, truth and commitment. Plus, it was believed that a sapphire’s color would fade if worn by an unfaithful or untruthful person!

Royalty were known to use diamonds in their engagement rings, but no more often than they used sapphires, rubies and emeralds. And of course, back in those centuries diamonds were extremely rare. But starting in 1870, when huge diamond deposits were discovered in South Africa, diamonds began to flood the market and prices for diamonds started to come down. De Beers launched its massive effort in to make diamonds part of every wedding in 1938.  They coined the phrase “A Diamond is Forever” in 1947 and by the 1960s, diamonds were synonymous with engagement.  That slogan was named the best advertising slogan of the 20th century.

Today we see a resurgence of interest in colored gemstones for engagement rings. Today’s brides are open to a broad range of gemstones and designs, basing their jewelry decisions on personal taste, the desire for uniqueness, and concerns about diamond origins. Colored gemstones – many of which are rarer than diamonds – offer exciting stories for today’s brides; from historic lore to the metaphysical properties of gems and the various meanings associated with colors. It appears the old adage is true: What comes around goes around. At Omi Privé, we’re just excited that colored gemstone bridal jewelry has come around again.