A Guide to Pastel Gemstones

Pink Morganite · Aquamarine · Coloured Sapphire

In this month of Halloween, we’re doing a special kind of trick-or-treating. The “candy” we’re currently obsessed with is not gummy bears, not pastilles, not chocolate… but instead beautiful candy-coloured gemstones that serve up dreamy vibes.

In this blog entry, I’ll be sharing a few of my favourite pastel-hued gemstones and latest additions to the Laine Jewellery collection, including 2 types of beryls – pink morganite and aquamarine – as well as coloured sapphire.

Pink Morganite

For those who love pink coloured gemstones, morganite is an excellent choice. Morganite is the pink to orange-pink variety of beryl, a family of minerals whose more famous members includes emerald and aquamarine.

Fun fact: First discovered by Tiffany & Co. in Madagascar in 1910, morganite was initially known as “pink beryl” and subsequently named after J.P. Morgan, one of the greatest financiers in history, patron of the arts and science, and avid gem collector.


Morganite

Image credit: GIA.edu



Morganite

Image credit: GIA.edu



Aurora Pink Morganite & Diamonds Star Ring by Laine Jewellery.

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What’s so special about it?

When untreated, morganite often has a strong orange colour component, giving it a shade of salmon. Its colour ranges from purplish pink, pale pink, pink and rose, to the more orangey hues on the spectrum including peach and salmon. In today's market, the pink and rose tints are more sought-after whereas the peach and salmon hues are slightly less popular.

Morganite also has distinct pleochroism — a colour-shifting optical phenomenon — shining from pale pink to a deeper bluish pink when viewed from different angles.

How’s it formed?

Morganite is part of the beryl family. Beryl is formed deep in the Earth's crust under heat and pressure for hundreds of millions of years.

Morganites are formed in the cracks of pegmatite rocks, in the form of hexagonal crystals. This happens when the volatile elements present within the pockets of water concentrate and mineralise during the final stages of crystallisation.

What gives it its colour?

The subtle light pink colour of morganite results from traces of manganese present in the stone’s chemical structure.

The gem is almost always heat-treated to improve the pink colour, using heat to drive off the yellow or orange tinge, leaving a purer and more attractive pink. Not only is the treatment not detectable, the resulting colour is also stable and won’t fade.

How durable is it?

Morganite ranks 7.5 to 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, meaning that its hardness is decent though not the best. It is harder than tourmaline, and just slightly less hard than emerald and topaz.

Aquamarine

Known for its refreshing shades of light blue, aquamarine is another member of the beryl mineral family. It is a great option for those seeking a blue-coloured gemstone that is less intensely blue than sapphire and also more affordable.

Aquamarine’s name is derived from the Latin word for seawater. It was said to calm waves and keep sailors safe at sea. As March’s birthstone and the gemstone for the 19th wedding anniversary, aquamarine is thought to enhance the happiness of marriages.




Aquamarine

Image credit: GIA.edu


Pear cut aquamarine pendant

Image credit: GIA.edu



Cushion Aquamarine & Diamonds Earrings by Laine Jewellery.

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What’s so special about it?

Aquamarine has a narrow colour range, from blue, slightly greenish blue, greenish blue, to very strongly greenish blue, or green-blue. Its preferred colour is a moderately strong dark blue to slightly greenish blue.

In general, the purer and more intense the blue colour, the more valuable the stone. Most aquamarine is a light greenish blue.

How’s it formed?

Aquamarine can sometimes form in metamorphic rocks, but it is far more commonly associated with granite. When large bodies of granitic magma slowly cool, aquamarine and other forms of beryl grow in vugs or pegmatite veins, nurtured by hot water saturated with metals and minerals.

What gives it its colour?

The blue colour of aquamarine comes from iron impurities within colourless beryl.

How durable is it?

Aquamarine is rated 7.5 to 8.0 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, placing it at the same hardness as its beryl cousin morganite. It is fairly resistant to scratching and chipping compared to other “softer” gemstones such as garnet and quartz.

Fancy Sapphire

When we talk about “sapphire”, it is easy to associate it with the most famous sapphire of all – the deep blue variety which is a precious gemstone and one of the “Big Three”. In fact, “sapphire” can also apply to any corundum that is not red in colour and does not qualify as ruby, another corundum variety. Sapphires that are not blue are known as “fancy sapphires”.

For those of you who are acquainted with Laine Jewellery’s designs, you may know how fond of coloured sapphire I am. Due to their stunning array of colours and varieties that cover every colour of the spectrum, coloured sapphires are the ideal choice for creating gradient pieces such as those in the Aurora Collection.



Aurora Gradient Sapphires Single Row Bangle by Laine Jewellery.

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What’s so special about it?

Fancy sapphires come in a wide range of colours, just about every shade of the spectrum you can imagine, such as pink, orange, yellow, green, purple, and violet. Although more affordable than the blue sapphire, in recent years fancy sapphires have gained popularity with pink sapphire and yellow sapphire being some of the most sought-after varieties of all.

How’s it formed?

Sapphires belong to the mineral species corundum (aluminium oxide), a family which also includes rubies. Corundum generally forms in geological settings that are rich in aluminium and free of silicon, often appearing in light-coloured igneous rocks such as desilicated pegmatites.

What gives it its colour?

Corundum itself is colourless in its purest state, but colourless corundum is extremely rare. Variations in colour are caused by the trace elements incorporated as part of the mineral’s crystal structure.

For example, the trace elements giving rise to blue sapphire are iron and titanium, the more iron, the darker the blue. Here is a list of the trace elements that give fancy sapphires their colour:

  • Pink sapphire: Chromium alone gives pink sapphire its pink hue. Chromium is also the trace element that gives ruby its red colour.

  • Green and pale yellow sapphire: Iron alone produces a weak yellow or green colour in sapphires.

  • Yellow and orange sapphire: A combination of iron and chromium in different ratios would give sapphires the colours ranging from yellow to orange.

  • Violet or purple sapphire: The colour results from the trace element vanadium.

How durable is it?

As corundum itself is a very hard, tough and stable mineral, sapphire has a hardness of 9 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, making it the hardest mineral only second to diamond. Unaffected by acids and most environments, sapphires are considerably durable and scratch-resistant, but should nevertheless still be treated with care as with all gemstones.

Feel free to get in touch with Laine Jewellery for recommendations and advice on diamonds or customised rings! I offer free consultation services every Friday at my studio at Two ifc, bookings required. Interested parties please make a reservation through Whatsapp or Laine Jewellery’s Facebook page!


Whatsapp: +852 6819 2038

https://wa.me/85268192038


Email: info@lainejewellery.com


Elaine 💌