Gemstones That Make You Ask, “What Is That?”



First things first: I am not a gemologist. I have been in the jewelry industry for 10 years now (wow, I’m just realizing that as I write this), and I feel very proud of all that I have learned, but I continue to learn on a daily basis. It’s a very fortunate thing, to have such talented teachers, and by that, I mean my industry peers and the rock star jewelry designers that keep you learning, questioning—and obsessing—over everything they create.

Rock and Gems Jewelry kyanite earrings

Earrings in 14k yellow gold with 1.5 cts. t.w. kyanite, 0.38 ct. t.w. aquamarine, and 068 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,820; Rock & Gems Jewelry

M Spalten Crystallized Meteor necklace

Crystallized Meteor necklace in 18k white gold with uvarovite garnet, 0.52 ct. t.w. sapphires, and 0.34 ct. t.w. diamonds, $3,320; M. Spalten

Lauren K chrysophase and azurite earrings

Earrings in 18k yellow gold with 20.85 cts. t.w. chrysoprase and azurite malachite and 0.47 ct. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Lauren K

That’s what got me thinking about gemstones, and how there is such a vast range of them out there, ones that go far beyond the opals and moonstones that make up my favorite things. They’re stones I don’t know a ton about, or perhaps don’t see often, and they fascinate me, inspiring me to learn more. They’re the stones that make you ask “what is that?” even if you kinda, sorta think you know, but don’t want to venture a guess and be wrong. They’re different, and I love different. I get so excited about different.

The Rock Hound Chromanteq morganite and kunzite earrings

Chromanteq collection earrings in 18k recycled white gold and green nano ceramic with 10.53 ct. kunzite, 6.79 ct. morganite, and 1.06 cts. t.w. Namibian demantoid, £6,300 ($8,959); The Rock Hound

Sydney Lynch Beryl Beach Pebble necklace

Beryl Beach Pebble necklace in 18k and 22k gold and oxidized silver with beryl and Tahitian pearl, $6,435; Sydney Lynch

Erica Courtney mint tourmaline Saturn ring

Saturn ring in 18k yellow gold with 2.87 ct. mint tourmaline, 1.28 cts. t.w. Paraiba tourmaline, and 0.77 ct. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Erica Courtney

A number of these jewelry designs are simply sneaky, clever things: Gemstones you’re probably familiar with, but in a color you’ve never quite seen before or combined with another stone that gives it new life. Others, you’re just not completely certain: It looks like morganite, but it could be a padparadscha—examples like that.

Yo Young Park agate Sunrise pendant

Sunrise pendant/brooch in 18k yellow gold with agate, price on request; So Young Park Studio

Martha Seely Curtain of Stars pendant

Curtain of Stars pendant in yellow gold with ammolite and 1.13 cts. t.w. diamonds, price on request; Martha Seely

Thea Izzi chalcedony Bird of Paradise earrings

Bird of Paradise earrings in 18k yellow gold with aqua chalcedony briolettes, $1,495; Thea Izzi

The upcoming JCK Tucson jewelry show has me thinking about gemstones a lot, since Tucson is definitely the place for gemstones, and there will inevitably be a number of stories and Instagram photos of rare rocks and interesting finds. I’m anxious to see what the new “it” stone will be (if one is declared) and eagerly await attendees to share their discoveries. For now, these are just some of the designs that give uncommon a run for its money—they’re a feast for the eyes (and anyone’s personal jewelry collection).