My connection to gems started back in 1896, when my grandfather arrived from Sri Lanka by sailboat, as a 16-year-old with a little pocket of gemstones.
Well, what I look for in a gem is certainly colour; the type of colour, the depth of colour etcetera. You look for the clarity of the stone, the life and brilliance of the stone is most important: that’s the thing that stands out with a coloured gem, is the way it shines and glitters at you.
The cutting of coloured gemstones is really to enhance the brilliance and life of a stone. Let me show you this spessartite garnet, for example, a rare orange variety of garnet. It’s even in colour, all over, there’s life within the stone from the table, through the crown facets, and all this is generated by the way the cutter has cut the back facets to get the most reflection of light through the stone.
People have this perception that sapphires come in just blue. Let me just show you a few other colours that they do come in. You have a range of blues, pale blues through to a rich velvety blue. Pinks are a wonderful sapphire, and they go from a very pale pink into a deep hot pink colour which is a vibrant, wonderful colour. Same with green sapphires, again great different tones of green sapphire available. And people don’t realise that the red variety of sapphire is actually called ruby. Then you also get a special star sapphire that has a 6-ray star effect under a point source of light.
You do find some wonderful gemstones and the range of colours you get is amazing, but there are exceptional stones that really make you tingle when you find them. One of them is this magnificent green tourmaline, it’s a soft neon, vibrant green that is quite exceptional to find. Clarity and colour of it is amazing, and it’s a stone that I particularly love.
Bear in mind that these coloured gemstones have been enhanced by man, but nature found them and nature made them. Nature made them individual and unique, but we are running out, it’s not an infinite resource. There are mines closing throughout the world. So enjoy your coloured gemstones, enjoy the fact that they are individual and unique and that you might not ever find that same gemstone again.