February 2018 Newsletter: Pantone Color of the Year -- Ultra Violet

The color of the year for 2018 is "Ultra Violet," according to the Pantone Color Institute, a color consulting company that chooses a color each year that symbolizes design trends and cultural mood.

Ultra violet "communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us towards the future," according to Pantone.

PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet is a blue-based purple that is the color of many Amethyst gems. Since Amethyst is also the birthstone for February, we have two reasons this month to celebrate the most famous of violet gemstones.

Amethyst has been known since antiquity and was one of the five cardinal gems -- diamond, emerald, ruby, sapphire and amethyst. These were the gems most valued for their rarity, and the ones most associated with royalty, religious authority and magical powers.

The only difference between this list and the more recent concept of precious gems is that amethyst no longer appears on the modern list. This is because extensive amethyst deposits were discovered in Brazil  in the 19th century, and amethyst was no longer regarded as a very rare gem.

25.21 ct Amethyst, Brazil 18.67 ct Amethyst, Brazil 13.58 ct Amethyst Pair, Uruguay

But the rich purple hue of amethyst retains its allure, and gem collectors still seek out particularly fine specimens. For the fact is, despite the large volume of purple quartz mined in South America, the vast majority of it is commercial grade material with a less saturated color. Fine deep purple amethyst is still fairly rare, though not especially expensive.

Many amethyst collectors search out the deepest richest purples they can find. But while the darker purples are highly prized, you will find they are not as sparkly as the lighter stones. For a livelier stone, look for the medium to medium-dark tones.

For a gem which was once regarded as precious as sapphire, amethyst is very affordable, even at the higher grades. Most fine amethyst is very clean and completely untreated and can be found in large sizes. It's quite a durable gem and is suitable for all kinds of jewelry.

See our collection of Fine Amethyst Gems



Notable Gems from the AJS Collection

This month we feature some fine new additions to our collection, including Paraiba Tourmaline, Amethyst, Green Beryl and Tsavorite Garnet. Click on a photo to see the details for the item.

1.73 ct Paraiba Tourmaline from Mozambique
1.73 ct Paraiba Tourmaline from Mozambique  [SOLD]
An outstanding paraiba tourmaline from Mozambique with a vivid neon blue color that really pops! Clean paraiba tourmalines with this vivid blue are exceptionally rare and highly collectible. Certified by GIA as natural tourmaline containing traces of copper and manganese ("called 'paraiba tourmaline' in the trade").

17.21 ct Bi-Color Amethyst from Brazil

17.21 ct Bi-Color Amethyst from Brazil  [SOLD]
An unusual Bi-Color Amethyst from Brazil. This is a very bright and lively gem with medium tone, with two well-defined zones with different shades of violet. This is perfectly clean material that has been expertly fashioned in an elegant octagon. Guaranteed natural and untreated.
8.47 ct Green Beryl from Brazil
8.47 ct Green Beryl from Brazil  [SOLD]

A unique Green Beryl from Brazil in a custom fancy cut! This is a completely clean gem with excellent brilliance and luster. This fine piece will make a unique ring or pendant. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

2.84 ct Tsavorite Garnet and Burma Ruby Set

A lovely suite of a fine Tsavorite Garnet with a Burma Ruby and Diamond. The Tsavorite is 2.37 cts (10.48 x 6.55x 5.03 mm) while the Ruby is 0.36 ct and the Diamond is 0.11 ct (3 mm). A perfect suite for a gorgeous pendant. Guaranteed natural.

See the video

19.43 ct Ametrine from Bolivia

19.43 ct Ametrine from Bolivia  [SOLD]

A very fine gem Ametrine from Bolivia. This is beautifully clean and transparent material with excellent color separation, with nearly equal regions of saturated amethyst and madeira citrine. At nearly 20 carats, this is a first rate specimen for the collector, at a very affordable price. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

13.24 ct Fancy Tourmaline from Nigeria

A large Fancy Tourmaline with a wonderful and unusual color -- a vivid salmon orange. This impressive gem just bursts with fiery color from all angles. Clean material and excellent cutting make this a terrific gem for your jewelry design. Guaranteed natural and untreated.

See the video


News from AJS and the Gems World

One of the World's Largest Diamonds Found in Lesotho

910 carat Diamond from Letseng Mine, Lesotho

Gem Diamonds, a leading diamond producer in southern Africa, has recovered a 910 carat, D-color diamond from the Letseng mine in Lesotho. It is believed to be the fifth-largest rough diamond in history. The miner also uncovered three other D-color diamonds over 100 carats this month.

The 910 carat diamond is about the size of two golf balls. Analysts estimate it could fetch between $40 million and $50 million. Graff Diamonds founder Laurence Graff is Gem Diamond’s biggest shareholder and has bought many of its large diamonds.

The largest diamond ever discovered was 3,106 carats. It was found at the Premier mine in South Africa in 1905 and named after the mine owner, Sir Thomas Cullinan. The diamond was given to King Edward VII as a birthday present before being sent to Antwerp to be cut into smaller gems. The two biggest cuts -- the Great Star of Africa and the Lesser Star of Africa -- are set in the Crown Jewels of Great Britain.



Ask the Gem Experts

Each month we answer questions from our customers. We welcome your questions and you can submit a question from our contact page.

I was interested in a Grade AAA - Pear shaped Aquamarine 10 x 7 mm but I've noticed that your gemstones don't have a "Grade" on them. How do I determine the Grade on the gemstone?  NS, USA

Terms like "AAA" are not standardized at all in the gemstone trade and they are, unfortunately, essentially meaningless. Though GIA, for example, has an elaborate and detailed grading scheme for diamonds, they have been unable to come up with an analogous scheme for colored gemstones, since there are simply too many varieties and too many variables.

We grade our gems by clarity and provide a clarity grade for each gem, using functional terms like "loupe clean" and "eye clean." We also provide comments on color and cut for many of our gems.

Since colored stone grading takes a practiced eye and long experience, we are always available to consult on your gem purchase. When comparing our gems, you can get some useful clues on grading by comparing the price per carat for gems of similar weight. A higher price per carat indicates that we have assigned a higher grade to that gem.



All the best in gems,

Arnold, Rung & Ron