Gemstones: Yellow Emeralds, Ethiopian Peridot, Synthetic Stones



Yellow Streak

Michigan-based jeweler Patrick Coughlin recently launched a line of ­yellow beryl under a luxurious trademark: Yellow Emerald. Mined from a single source in Brazil, the Yellow Emerald is mostly clean and possesses a particularly intense yellow color.

Coughlin’s interest in the golden gem was inspired by the color’s current popularity in the jewelry and fashion industries. By promoting yellow beryl this way, he is aiming to communicate a sense of value and demand to consumers.

Still, Coughlin is aware some purists may consider the name misleading, given that emerald has traditionally been associated with green. Therefore, he has incorporated use of the tagline “premium golden beryl” whenever the Yellow Emerald name appears. This way, consumers and jewelers alike will understand that these attractively colored stones are part of the beryl family. As is common with yellow beryl, some of the production is irradiated to enhance color.

Betting on Green

Mia Dixon/www.palagems.com

We all know green has been a popular gem color this season. (See “The Look: Green Zone,” JCK, September 2010, p. 55.) One stone enjoying good demand in the current value-hungry market is peridot. Josh Hall of Pala International tells JCK, “We sell peridot every month. It is one of those ­varieties that when you tally sales at the end of the month, you know it is going to be there.”

Several origins are currently producing peridot; the color of the material can vary slightly from location to location.
“The Pakistani material is particularly popular,” says Hall. “The Ethiopian peridot is also an attractive choice. It has just the slightest touch of blue in the color. However, there isn’t much of it in the market at the moment.”

Stigma Against Synthetics Fades

Whether it’s due to marketing, price points, or confusion stemming treatments in the natural stone market, one thing is certain: Laboratory-grown colored stones are gaining popularity.

Chicago-based gem consultant Heidi Harders, GG, attributes the increased interest to cost: “Consumers have specific price points at which they are willing to buy,” she says. “Lab-created gems are currently fitting into their comfort zone.”

Firms like San Francisco–based Chatham Created Gems and Massachusetts’ Morion Company produce a wide variety of such gem products, including lab-grown alexandrite, lab-grown emerald, lab-grown ruby, sapphire, and spinel, as well as imitation tanzanite (synthetic forsterite). In popular varieties like created emerald and ruby, the price difference between their natural counterparts is quite significant—which should explain why interest in synthetics is on the rise.

For more colorful gemstone talk