The rarest colored jewels are always sought after. Jewelry expert Scott Bohall explains why.
Each year, the latest fashion trends and hot colors show up in Paris and Italy. Sometimes those trends carry over into the gem world, and sometimes they don’t impact the jewelry industry. But, the place that really determines what is hot or not in the gemstone market is Bangkok, Thailand. I just returned from Thailand and spent much of my time there looking for the special gems that defy any type of trend.
Whether you are talking about a cake in a bakery, a supermodel, or a sapphire, the human eye is drawn to certain aspects of beauty no matter what the fashion trend. Studies have been done on why, but the data is strong that the human eye is drawn to primary colors. The starter box of eight crayons is a great template. The crayons red, blue, and green, are colors that in gems are the most sought after. Combination colors like pink and purple are next. As it turns out, the rarest of colored gems are red, blue, and green, which have increased in value year-after-year, despite fluctuating real estate or stock market prices around the world.
Deception is also strongest when dealing with the major sources of these gems, like in Thailand. Gems are often treated to look like other gems. Sometimes what is offered is a completely man-made gem, but more often than not you’ll find that a gem has been doctoring to make it look better or like another, more expensive, gem. The level of new treatments scares me as a jeweler, as some of these new treatments are not detectable on a store level.
Recently, I spent a few hours studying a gem that is geared for the Internet and the TV channel market. Calling this gem real is like calling a hot dog exotic, rare meat. When you add color, fillers, and a material to bond all the cracks together, it’s not a gem––it’s a craft project!
There is a gem that I have coveted for 30 years––color-change sapphire. Only one in 10,000 natural sapphires change color. For decades, it was only the gem geeks like me that knew of its existence. Specifically, these rarities are not treated in any way and change from blue in sunlight to purple in incandescent light. It seems like even the dealers who had zero interest in this gem a decade ago are now offering it. The price goes up every jewelry-buying trip I take and few of them make it into the United States. I have many, but desire every nice color-change sapphire that I see.
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