Some might dismiss the saccharine hues of spinels, sapphires and pink diamonds as frivolous, but with rocketing prices these gems are anything butMarch 25, 2021 By Rachael Taylor
Pink. It can be a divisive colour. For some, it is an obsession – a whole generation, in fact, when Millennial Pink swept through fashion, interiors, art, food… everything. Others find its hues too girly, too saccharine; put simply, it is not a serious colour.
Much of this comes down to gender bias. Blue is for boys, and pink is for girls. Blue is a strong colour, pink is fluffy. Men are serious, women flippant. Despite this sexist chromatic trope being deeply ingrained in our society, it is a relatively new concept. As Crawford Hollingworth and Liz Baker of The Behavioural Architects point out in their report The Power of Priming: “Until 1880, boys and girls were dressed in any colour, with both wearing pink and pale blue. However, by the 1950s, this had begun to change, with pale blue typically associated with boys and pale pink with girls.”
While some might consider pink a frivolous shade reserved for the girliest of girls, in the gemstone world, pink is big business. Pink diamonds in particular have been commanding serious prices of late. Data from the Fancy Color Research Foundation shows prices have doubled in the past decade, and many investors are advising those seeking asset jewels to invest in pink diamonds from the Argyle mines of Australia, as mining there ceased in November and nothing pushes up prices like scarcity.
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Famously expensive pink diamonds
At auction, too, there have been some spectacular sales, including The Spirit of the Rose, an incredibly rare purple-pink Russian diamond unearthed by miner Alrosa in 2017. Sold at Sotheby’s in November, the 14.83ct polished diamond fetched an incredible CHF24.4 million.
While the fiscal trajectory of pink diamonds might make them inaccessible for most, the good news is that they are not the only pink gemstones out there. If you are in the camp that takes pink very seriously indeed – such as Copenhagen jewellery designer Julie Nielsdotter, who not only designs with pink gems but blankets the colour across her branding, boxes, store, person and Instagram wall – you’ll be familiar with some of the varieties.
So, other than diamonds, which are the best pink gemstones? Eva Meijer, gemmologist and founder of Eva Gems & Jewels has some thoughts on this: “Since the 2000s, there has been an extreme demand for bright-pink gems, driven by celebrities wearing pink diamonds on the red carpet at that time. I focus on fine-quality, natural pink gemstones only, and so I deal in stones such as pink spinel, tourmaline, garnet, morganite and sapphire.” Other pink gems include kunzite, pink opal, topaz, rose quartz and light shades of rubellite and ruby.
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The benefits of pink spinel
“If I had to pick my favourite pink gem, it would be a neon-pink spinel from Mahenge, Tanzania or Myanmar,” says Eva. “Spinel tends to be far cleaner than rubies and sapphires, which means they can sparkle beautifully. They also require no treatment, making them a true natural beauty that only require cutting and polishing to bring out vibrancy. This is truly exceptional, and there are very few gems that can claim the same.”
Pink sapphires have been hugely popular in recent years, matched with other hues of sapphire to create a rainbow effect, for example, or used to bring vibrant colour to the fresh tranche of on-trend heart-shaped jewels lifting this classic jewellery motif from passé to polished. But for Eva, spinels are the superior pink gem.
“Spinels have a remarkable beauty, and actually come close to diamonds in appearance because of that cold, ice-princess look,” she explains. “Since we have been trained by the diamond marketing machine to appreciate cold beauty, spinel feels modern to many of us. More so than the warmer ruby or pink sapphire.”
Libby Rak 18ct gold, rubellite and diamond Signature cocktail ring, £3,550, available at The Jewellery Cut Shop
Wearing pink takes attitude
Pink can be hard to wear, though, and often clients will raise this with Eva. “Overall, women say they like pink when they see the pink stones in my collection, but then I hear issues like ‘it’s a difficult colour to style with the rest of my outfit’ or ’the colour doesn’t fit my skin tone’,” she shares. Eva rebuts the first claim, opining that dressing with pink gems is about embodying the right attitude and confidence to pull it off, rather than trying to make them blend in. Skin tone, however, is a serious consideration. “For instance, I’m quite pale and a light pink morganite doesn’t suit me at all and totally vanishes on my skin,” says Eva. “A bright neon-pink stone, however, works just fine. And so, we need to look at each woman to see which pink gem suits her best.”
Eva herself has struggled with pink gemstones: “I have a weird relationship with pink. When asked what’s your favourite colour, I’ll automatically reply blue and blue-green shades, yet I actually wear quite a lot of pink. Perhaps my hesitance is because of its reputation as overtly feminine – as in, Barbie-doll pink – and of being soft or not being very grown up somehow.”
Yet, as we now know, it actually takes a powerful woman to pull off a statement pink jewel. “You can be sure of one thing… only the people with a pioneer spirit will be brave enough to go for a pink stone – rebels who love to stand out,” says Eva, a woman perfectly capable of rocking a pink gem. “Pink gemstones are sweet, girlie and, at the same time, powerful in their edginess.”
Robinson Pelham 14ct gold, diamond and pink sapphire Disco hoop earrings, £10,300, enquire at Robinson Pelham
A version of this article was originally published at Eva Gems & Jewels. Watch Eva Meijer and The Jewellery Cut co-founder Rachael Taylor in conversation on the topic of pink gemstones here