A Focus on the Accent Stone

The accent stone(s) is an important part of some jewelry.  It’s meant to enhance the beauty of the center stone and provide added interest to the jewelry.  Diamonds are the most often used gem for accentuating a piece of jewelry.  They “go” with every other gem, and they add sparkle and richness.  But, what if you want something different for your accent stones?  Are there rules or best practices that apply when choosing accent stones?

An important guideline to follow when creating jewelry is to make sure the accent stones don’t compete with the center stone for attention.  Features such as size, cut, polish, and color should all be considered.  The size of an accent stone should always be smaller than the center stone, but there are many acceptable proportions.  Cut and polish of the accent stones can be similar or quite different from the center stone.  For example, I love the look of this rough drusy quartz with the polished and faceted diamonds.  But the smoothly polished chrysocolla and turquoise pendant is also pleasing to the eye.

Sleeping Drusy Quartz with Diamond Accents

Chrysocolla and Turquoise Cabochon Pendant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The study of color starts with the color wheel.  There are terms for colors that look good together, such as complementary or analogous colors.  Complementary colors are opposite each other on the color wheel, and analogous colors are adjacent.  Monochromatic colors are different tints or tones of the same color.  For example, blue and orange are good colors together.  And blue with green can be a vibrant combination. But dark blue can look great with light blue, too!  

In the end, your eye is the best judge of what colors look good together.  So much depends on the exact tint and hue of each gem.  Some people prefer bold, saturated colors while other people prefer pastels. Don’t be afraid to experiment with the hues of accent stones. Here are some suggestions for accents to put with birthstone gems.

  • January – Red Garnet paired with Yellow-Green Peridot
  • February – Violet Amethyst paired with Yellow Citrine (Note: Ametrine is the natural pairing of these two.)
  • March –  Aquamarine paired with Pink Tourmaline
  • April –  Diamond pairs with anything, but consider Blue Zircon for its high dispersion of light (aka Sparkle!)
  • May  –  vivid Emerald paired with another vivid gem, Blue Sapphire
  • June – Pearl, often used as accent itself, would pair well with the pastel hues of Morganite
  • July – Ruby, another vivid stone, would look great with Emerald as long as you’re okay with Christmas colors.  If not, consider Pink Sapphire, with its less saturated,monochromatic hue, as an accent gem.
  • August – Green Peridot paired with Ethiopian Opal
  • September – Blue Sapphire paired with Orange Spessertine Garnet
  • October – Precious Opal, if white, would pair well with Pink Spinel or Tourmaline.  If the Precious Opal is black, it would pair better with Emerald or Sapphire.
  • November – Yellow Citrine paired with Red Garnet
  • December – Robin’s Egg Blue Turquoise paired with Black Spinel or Diamonds

I recently helped create a Lavender Star Sapphire ring.  The sapphire had a very pale hue, as star sapphires often do. The goal was to enhance its color with effective accents.  We chose faceted trillion amethysts, fairly light in color but more colorful than the sapphire.  When the three were side by side, it really helped the Star Sapphire appear more lavender.  This can be another great use of accent stones.  

Star Sapphire with Light Amethysts

Choosing accent gems for your next jewelry project can be lots of fun.  Diamonds are wonderful, and they’ll never lose their appeal as an accent stone, but there are lots of other possibilities.  We’d be happy to help you figure out your options.  

The Gift of Quartz

sand

Is it hard to believe that something as common as sand or dust is made of, basically, the same ingredients as the most beautiful amethyst?  Silica and oxygen are two of the most common elements on Earth, and they are the two needed to form quartz, a group of minerals which contains, among other gemstones, amethyst.  What a gift that, sometimes, the simplest and most common ingredients make an awe-inspiring product.

The “Quartz Family” is a wide-ranging group.  Amethyst is part of the large or single crystal strand of this group, along with citrine, smoky quartz, rock quartz (colorless quartz), and prasiolite (green quartz).  These are the quartz gemstones that are likely to be faceted in order to refract light.  They are more transparent, being cut from a single crystal.  There are two main reasons why these gemstones are different hues.  Trace elements such as iron can mingle with the silica and oxygen to influence the color.  Heat and/or irradiation acting on the mineral can also change its color.  Citrine, for example, is generally made by heat-treating pale amethyst.

Another branch of the quartz group is the microcrystalline strand.  Gemstones like tiger’s eye and aventurine are aggregates of many, many small quartz crystals.  These gemstones are generally translucent or opaque and are rarely faceted.  You might see them carved into cabochons or made into beads.  Colorless quartzite is an aggregate that is often dyed in various colors, sometimes to mimic other gemstones like jade.

Gemstones with cryptocrystalline structure have crystals too small to be seen without a powerful microscope.  Chalcedony, agate, and chrysoprase fall into this strand.  Chalcedony comes in various colors, both naturally and with man’s help.  Chrome chalcedony is naturally green due to a trace element of chromium.  But black onyx is actually chalcedony that has been dyed black.  Chrysoprase, one of the most valuable gemstones in the quartz group, is a translucent apple-green due to the presence of nickel.  These gemstones are sometimes faceted but usually are made into cabochons, beads or other carvings.  Agate, a multi-colored banded gemstone, can be used to carve cameos.

Quartz comes from almost every corner of the globe.  South America, North America, Australia, Africa, Asia, and even Europe all have deposits of quartz.  Because it’s so plentiful, even in large pieces, quartz is generally affordable.  We often think that the more expensive something is, the more beautiful it must be.  But that’s just not true in the case of quartz!

amethyst