Pierre Has An Eye For Color!

by Pierre Plante February 01, 2023

Pierre Has An Eye For Color!


A jeweler looking through a loupe at a blue gemstone

For a first overview of a gem, Pierre uses a loupe, which magnifies 10x.  He will also view the gemstone through a microscope for a closer inspection.

You may be wondering -- how does Pierre select a gemstone?

What is it that makes him choose one gem over another,

similar one?

Here is how Pierre describes it: 

When I'm looking to buy gemstones for our collection, there are many factors that I'm looking for.  It is always a give-and-take, because no one gem will have all of the possible attributes.  As I look from gem to gem, I find that they vary in how attractive they are. Sometimes a gemstone will cause an increase in my heart rate -- that's when I know that I have found that one-in-a-thousand gem that is truly stunning.  Most often, choosing happens by instinct, which comes from years of looking and buying.

As I start to look at a group of gemstones, the first thing I'm interested in is which ones catch my eye with brilliancy -- how well does light play within the gem.  This is the first way I start to separate out the gemstones that I want to look at further.

This large oval blue sapphire is a rare, unheated beauty from Sri Lanka.  The island nation of Sri Lanka is near India, and is known as a fabulous source of many varieties of gems.  Click this picture to read about this gorgeous sapphire!

The next attributes that I find important are hue, tone, intensity, and saturation of the color. 

Hue refers to color. When I'm looking at blue sapphires, I start looking for pure blue color as well as blues that have a slight purplish tone, since people find those colors appealing as well.  Tone is simply how light or dark the hue may be.  Sapphires with intense or vivid color are rare and desirable.  Sometimes a lighter sapphire, such a paler blue, peach, or lavender, can be beautiful and appeal to a person who likes pastel shades. Some gemstones have areas that are colorless, called windows. Or they might have bands of darker color. Ideally, I look for gems that are completely saturated with color throughout the gemstone.  
Most fine sapphires are cut into oval or cushion shapes, to maximize the yield from the rough sapphire crystal.

Clarity, proportion, and finish are alsoaspects of a gem's quality. They can affectthe value of the gem.  

Clarity refers the the inclusions that a gem may or may not have.  Each gem material has its own types of inclusions, and there may be a variety of types of inclusions in a single gem.  Unlike diamonds, which are prized more if they don't have inclusions, colored gems' value is based more on color than on clarity.  Small inclusions, or interesting ones that are characteristic of a specific gem, add to that gemstone's "fingerprint" and make it unique.  But if a gem has inclusions or internal fractures that could affect its durability, I would not be interested in that gem.Proportion is all about how the gemstone has been shaped. Colored gemstones are shaped in a completely different way than diamonds are.  The lapidary (the person who cuts and polishes colored gems) calls on his or her skills from years of experience, to create the most beauty from each individual gemstone.    Finish is the final polishing of the gem. When the facets have been highly polished, the reflective surface will enhance the color and brilliancy of the gem. 
The dimensions of the gemstone are determined by using a digital millimeter gauge.  The weight is measured in carats, using a digital scale.

Colored gemstones are fascinating in theirvariety and beauty.  

There are so many more topics we can discuss  in the future -- like bicolor gems, phenomenal gems, and one-of-a-kind gemstones that are just so cool to see and learn about!

Pierre Plante
Pierre Plante


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