Blogs: On Your Market / Colored Stones

On My Mind: Pastel Opaque Gemstones


I was scrolling through Instagram the other day when I came across an image of a jade pendant from designer ParkFord (pictured). I quickly became aware that I was in awe of the piece, its color so beautiful and alluring. It was simple but, somehow, everything I needed at the moment.

Arman Sarkisyan pink opal ring
Ring in 22k yellow gold and oxidized silver with pink opal, purple sapphires, and diamonds, $5,800; Arman Sarkisyan

But it wasn’t just its color that moved me so; it was also its opacity. I got to thinking about how we’re gearing up to embrace pastels—typical of this time of year, on the cusp of spring and the Easter holiday—and of the many options there are for pastel gemstones.

Brent Neale pink opal mushroom
Mini mushroom pendant in 18k yellow gold with pink opal and multicolor sapphires, $3,950; Brent Neale

Sparkle in abundance is wonderful—I can’t get enough of it. But sometimes a gemstone looks just as lovely if not better sans the glitter, in a milky, silky form that’s as sweet as hard candy.

Nakard Ballbearing chrysoprase earrings
Ballbearing earrings in sterling silver and black rhodium with chrysoprase, $725; Nakard by Nak Armstrong

Gemstones like jade, coral or pink opal, agate, turquoise—styles that are traditionally unfaceted and very solid in depth—are what I have in mind. Sure, you can take a light gemstone like blue topaz in cabachon form, but it will still have some of that (really lovely) translucence, that glow. I want complete opacity, as thick as pea soup.

Jacquie Aiche Pink Opal Thunderbird Necklace
Pavé pink opal Thunderbird six-diamond necklace in 14k yellow gold; $7,250; Jacquie Aiche


Campbell Charlotte lace agate pendant
Found cap pendant necklace in 14k yellow gold with 0.41 ct. lace agate and sapphires, $1,830; Campbell + Charlotte

Because these gemstones stand out solidly no matter the atmosphere. Day or night, sunshine or clouds, no matter the skin tone or attire, each gem glows in its own way, despite nary a facet or sparkle (though some of the jewels are accented in diamonds or other stones, and that is quite all right by me).

Stephanie Occhipinti Bermuda pine earrings
Bermuda Pine drop earrings in sterling silver with polished conch, $225; Stephanie Occhipinti
Dune Jewelry Serenity ring
Serenity ring in sterling silver with larimar, $195; Dune Jewelry

It’s the same way I like my nail polish. Some opt for sheer, some a bit of a sheen, but I like the thick, milky shellac, mostly in shades of minty green, nude, and ballet slipper pink.

Lord Jewelry turquoise pendant
Bird pendant in 18k yellow gold with 15.35 ct. turquoise, 1.4 cts. t.w. diamonds, and white enamel, price on request; Lord Jewelry
Andreoli rose opal ring
Ring in 18k white gold with rose opal, 0.5 ct. t.w. diamonds, and black enamel, price on request; Andreoli

And comparing gemstones to nail polish isn’t just me hitting peak quarantine (though that is most certainly in progress). Nail polish is one of the most wonderful accessories for jewelry, and matching nails and rings is one of my favorite looks there is (how great would the above Andreoli ring look with a pink and black French mani?).

Bea Bongiasca Flower Power earrings
Two-tone Flower Power earrings in 9k yellow gold with baby blue and turquoise enamel, $500; Bea Bongiasca
Ania Haie enamel ring
Ring in powder blue enamel, $45; Ania Haie

As an alternative to this aesthetic, enamel jewelry also has that totally saturated, solid look that captures that same pastel-icious essence. In fact, I love the idea of gathering a series of enamel styles and creating your own pastel rainbow, and many jewelers offer stackable, groupable styles priced at a point that makes it possible to collect them.

Top: Revival baguette necklace in 14k yellow gold with jadeite and 0.23 ct. t.w. diamonds, $4,275; ParkFord

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By: Brittany Siminitz

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