Gemstone Industry

Coloured Stones Essentials

Shreya Matta

Shreya Matta

June 21, 2022

Coloured stones or Gemstones are prized for centuries for their rarity and revered for their rainbow of hues, which have long rivaled diamonds as the world’s greatest natural treasures. These coloured stones have long enjoyed a vast history that illuminates their importance and a wide variety of uses. Tanzanite, Topaz, Tourmaline, Ruby, Sapphire, Emerald, Pink Quartz stones, etc. – the list is endless.

Every gemstone is unique with its own aesthetic appeal with its colour, symmetry, and surface appearance. The greatest source of a gem’s beauty and allure has always been its colour. Well known for hardness due to its Clear, crystalline, and sharpness. This article dives you into the wonderful world of stones colours and gems in India. Where Did Those Gemstones Come From?

Understanding Colour and Phenomena 

How Colour Occurs

The colour that an observer sees in a gemstone is born from an interaction between light, the gemstone, and the observer. Light, although seemingly white, is a combination of all the colours of the spectrum, and each colour represents different energies. Selective Absorption process will make these gemstones absorb light waves. This will assist the gemstones in getting the quality.

This coloring approach will help the stones in usage for decoration, for jewellery like colored stones rings and necklaces. Importantly, it’s the light waves that aren’t absorbed – in other words, returned – that determine the colour the observer sees. It is the gem’s chemical composition and crystal structure that ultimately affects the way it absorbs and returns light. 

Describing Colour

Three key terms are most commonly used when identifying and describing coloured gemstones: hue, tone, and saturation. While discussing colour, start with describing your first impression of the gemstone’s basic body colour—the hue of the gemstone. Next, delve into the specifics of that basic colour, including its relative degree of darkness or lightness.

This is known as the stone’s tone, which helps specify the specific stone in question. Finally, note how strong or light the stone’s colour appears. This is its saturation. Highly saturated coloured gemstones, such as Bubblegum Pink Sapphires, will often appear vivid and intense.

4C’s – Clarity, Cut, Colour, and Carat Weight 

Oftentimes, many in the gemstone sphere immediately give Carat, one of the 4 Cs, priority over the remaining three Cs: Cut, Colour, and Clarity. This is because many people think bigger is better, and as carat refers to the weight by which gemstones, as well as diamonds, are measured, it just has to be the most important factor.


Modern gems or coloured stones are most often cut with a top and bottom, or as the industry calls it, the crown and the pavilion. Antique gems will have a much flatter pavilion than will gems cut in the last decades.

How to Buy Best Quality Gemstones

How the pavilion is cut affects how light is reflected back to the observer. The better the cut on the pavilion, the more fire and sparkle, and the more valuable it. Most modern gems, especially diamonds – have what is called a Brilliant Cut in which the facets are cut to reflect the most light back up through the crown. Cut also refers to the shape of the stone.  Coloured stones come in a wonderful variety of shapes including:


 Diamonds and other precious gemstones are graded on their colour. The Gemological Institute of America has a standard grading system for determining the colour, and thereby the value of gemstones.  Diamonds are graded D-Z, with “D” being the most white and “Z” the most yellow.  


Clarity makes a great deal of difference in value.  Fractures, fissures, and imperfections are called inclusions to change the clarity of a coloured gemstone. A flawless diamond or other gemstone has none of these defects visible under close examination. Gemstones are examined for flaws under magnification. Diamonds are graded using the following criteria for a skilled grader using 10× magnification:

  • Flawless (FL) – No inclusions or blemishes are visible 
  • Internally Flawless (IF) – No inclusions and only blemishes are visible 
  • Very, Very Slightly Included (VVS1 and VVS2) – Inclusions are difficult 
  • Very Slightly Included (VS1 and VS2) – Inclusions are minor and range from difficult to somewhat easy 
  • Slightly Included (SI1 and SI2) – Inclusions are noticeable 
  • Included (I1, I2, and I3) – Inclusions are obvious and may affect transparency and brilliance

Carat Weight

The size of a coloured gemstone as measured by its carat weight has a great bearing on its desirability and value.  Larger coloured gemstones/diamonds, are relatively rare and are of greater value, though a larger coloured stone can be worth less than a smaller one depending on other factors, such as cut, clarity, and colour.

Laboratory-grown coloured stones, Imitations, and Disclosure 

Making the Gemstone quality diamonds in a lab comes with challenges.  The results are small (under a carat) and industrial-grade—great for use in cutting tools, given the hardness of diamonds, but not high-quality enough for engagement rings.

The machines and processes used to make man-made diamonds have become more refined in recent years, finally able to simulate the extreme pressure and temperatures deep within the Earth’s core that created organic diamonds over billions of years. Today’s lab-grown diamonds are finally of sufficient quality to be certified by third-party institutions, such as the Gemological Institute of America, as real. 

What are Lab-grown Stones?

Lab-grown stones, also known as synthetic or man-made stones, are created in a laboratory using advanced technology and processes that mimic the natural formation of gemstones. These stones have the same physical, chemical, and optical properties as their natural counterparts, making them virtually indistinguishable.

By replicating the conditions under which natural stones are formed, manufacturers produce lab-grown stones, resulting in high-quality gems. They can create them in various colors, shapes, and sizes, offering a wide range of options for jewelry and other applications. Lab-grown stones are an ethical and sustainable alternative to mined gemstones, as they minimize environmental impact and eliminate the risks associated with mining.

How are coloured stones certified and graded?

You follow the same process as mining diamonds for grading, certifing the Coloured stones. They are sent to a gem lab that specializes in grading coloured stones. The majority of these labs grade using the 4C’s, however, a select few use their own criteria. This grading process is roughly the same for all of the coloured stones certification labs. Independent grading is done for each coloured stone  by several gemologists at the lab.

You do the compiling and analyzing the individual grades to find the final grade. This way all coloured stones will get an unbias grading process. However, it’s not uncommon for a stone to get a different grade, not only from a different lab but from the same lab if sent back for a second grading.

Design Ideas with Coloured Stones

Coloured stones are a versatile and stunning addition to any piece of jewelry. The beauty of colored stones is that they can add a pop of color, making an otherwise simple design stand out or tie together the colors in a more complex piece. Here are some design ideas to make the most of colored stones.

One popular trend in colored stone jewelry is stacking rings with different types and colors of gemstones. This creates a unique and personalized look that can be changed up depending on your mood or outfit. Another idea is to incorporate colored stones into minimalist designs, such as simple stud earrings or delicate pendant necklaces. This allows the stone to truly shine without overwhelming the overall look.

For those who love statement pieces, using larger sized colored stones can make for an eye-catching accessory. Try incorporating them into bold cuff bracelets or dangling earrings to really showcase their beauty.

Ways to Use Coloured Stones

Colored stones are a beautiful and versatile element in jewelry making. Adding color, texture, and interest to any piece of jewelry, colored stones can be useful in a variety of ways. Here are some ideas to help you get started using colored stones in your own creations.

One way to use colored stones is as the centerpiece of a necklace or bracelet. Choose a large, eye-catching stone such as turquoise, amethyst or ruby and build the rest of your design around it. Use smaller stones or beads that complement its color scheme to create an elegant and cohesive look.

Another way to use colored stones is by incorporating them into wirework or metalwork designs. Use small gemstones like garnet or peridot as accents alongside intricately woven wire patterns for added texture and detail. Colored stones can also be set into metal bezels as focal points on rings, earrings, pendants or brooches.

Durability, Care, and Cleaning of coloured stones

What do you need to clean your gemstone jewelry? For many pieces, mild detergent, warm water, and a soft brush are a good start. However, before you decide to clean your collection yourself, or even if you leave it to a professional jeweler, add a little gemology to the mix. 

Recommendations for At-Home Gemstone Jewelry Cleaning

Once you’ve identified your gems, consult our gemstone care guide for how to clean your jewelry. 


  • Most commercially prepared jewelry cleaners are safe but beware of those that contain ammonia/chemicals that can damage sensitive gems.
  • Let your jewelry piece soak for a few moments in a solution of warm water and mild detergent/cleaning solution.
  • Use a soft brush to gently scrub your jewelry.
  • A shaved matchstick or toothpick is quite good at picking out accumulations.
  • When you’ve finished scrubbing, dip the jewelry piece back into the solution for one last wetting. Then rinse in warm running water. You should be avoiding temperature exposure on them.
  • Shake or blow on the jewelry piece to remove excess liquid, then gently polish with a soft lint-free cloth.
  • Dispense with the cloth and immerse the jewelry piece in a bed of dry maple wood chips. Once dry, blow away the chips. 

Presenting the Big 3 coloured stones

When one thinks of colored gemstones, three jewels come to mind first. Rubies, sapphires, and emeralds have been favorites for thousands of years, and continue to getting admiration. Often known for Big Three, these gemstones always keeping themselves in limelight.  Big 3 coloured gemstone jewelry can be as in demand as some of the finest diamond pieces. These gemstones come in many qualities, sizes, and designs, enough to fit anyone’s tastes and a range of budgets. 


Ruby Stone: Dangerous Magic

In Sanskrit, the name ruby translates to “king of gemstones”. Often you can usee these coloured gemstones at museums or auctions. They will getting attention for its 4Cs characteristics.  Beautiful in its own form, you can consider Ruby Stones for its class.

Rubies have among the highest per carat value of coloured gemstones, and fine quality rubies over one carat are rare. In rare instances, rutile aligns within the ruby, creating optical phenomena such as chatoyancy or asterism. 



Corundrum is the mineral version giving its fame to Sapphires. In its purest state, sapphire is colourless. Many sapphires contain trace elements of iron or titanium, giving the gemstone the blue it’s famed for. Aside from having a blue tint, there are other factors that help make a sapphire its best.

 The hue range for blue sapphire runs from violet through blue to very strongly green-bluish. But the most admired hues lean toward blue or violetish-blue. They help to determine the jewel’s origin, as well as help to identify individual jewels. Some clarity characteristics help add to a sapphire’s beauty. 


The Swashbuckling History of Emeralds, May’s Birthstone

Emeralds are one of the most famous members of the beryl family. Knowing for its intense greens, you can use “emerald”  as  a descriptor for anything verdant. Some versions of the jewel are more likely to turn heads than others.

The hue of an emerald is between green and very strongly blue-green, with medium or medium dark tones. Saturation may be strong to vivid, with more intensity preferred. Colouring should be even throughout the stone, without unintentional zoning. Totally in demand styles will be Blue-green jewels with medium tone and vivid saturation.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, coloured stones are a beautiful and versatile addition to any wardrobe. You can use Coloured stones to create  eye-catching statement or even as a simple, subtle accent. With the right knowledge of colour tones, textures, shapes and sizes, you can create stunning pieces that will add interest to any ensemble. Whether you’re shopping for yourself or someone else, the variety of coloured stones makes it easy to find something that fits any style or budget.

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