A coloured diamond has long been considered synonymous with wealth, but what of the owner’s sense of style or taste? Immediately, mental images of Mariah Carey’s ostentatious $2.5m pink and white diamond engagement ring and Katie Price’s Barbie pink number (extra points for being heart-shaped) spring to mind. Despite a large number of celebrity-favoured coloured diamonds, these stones are a rare find, hence the hefty price tag.
Coloured diamonds are caused by naturally occurring impurities. Yellow, brown and ‘cognac’ hues are some of the more common of these, whereas blue and pink are a couple of the rarest. Kudos, Jordan and Mariah.
One of the world’s most famous coloured stones is the Hope Diamond, a whopping 45.52ct dark, inky blue beauty. Originally purchased by King Louis XIV in 1668, the stone has had something of a tumultuous history, surviving theft, being passed around families and re-set in various styles before eventually being sold at auction to luxury jewellers Harry Winston in 1949. The company went on to donate the Hope Diamond to the Smithsonian Institution in 1958, where it still remains today. Despite the elaborate, contemporary settings of modern coloured diamond rings, the stones will always encompass a rich and unique history.
An attractive alternative to the classic colourless diamond engagement ring, coloured gemstones are enjoying something of a renaissance in recent years. Companies such as Swarovski specialise in manufacturing stones in every colour imaginable and making them affordable for the average consumer. Classic gemstones such as rubies and emeralds are back in vogue, though are subject to a fluctuating economy and trends. The price of emeralds, for example, is at an all-time high and the sapphire is, arguably, the gemstone du jour, thanks largely to the Duchess of Cambridge.
As with a vibrant hair colour or bright item of clothing, a coloured gemstone adds a touch of personality to one’s ensemble. In the kind of mystical ‘hippy’ stores which sell crystals and incense holders, it is often claimed that precious stones denote a certain characteristic or act as a healing tool; even your birth month is represented by specific gemstones. This idea of personality and meaning behind specific stones has always been prevalent in the jewellery industry. The meteoric rise of brands such as Pandora embraces and markets the expression of personality through jewellery with aplomb, though it’s hardly a new concept. A ring will always reflect the owner’s style and taste – whether finger-breakingly extravagant or slight and subtle – and a pop of colour holds a unique place in the jewellery world that will never go out of fashion.