Bring on the Bling

From rubies to sapphires, emeralds and diamonds, learn how to pick the right gems for that added glitter as you accessorise

Issue: Mar 2014

Be it diamonds, sapphires or rubies, it all boils down to brilliance - how the stone is cut to get as much light as possible to return back up, through the top of the stone to your eye
Be it diamonds, sapphires or rubies, it all boils down to brilliance - how the stone is cut to get as much light as possible to return back up, through the top of the stone to your eye
Cartier’s L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style necklace in platinum with a 67.94-carat carved sapphire, melon-cut sapphire, emerald beads, and sapphire carved leaves will surely chase the blues away (price available on request)
Cartier’s L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style necklace in platinum with a 67.94-carat carved sapphire, melon-cut sapphire, emerald beads, and sapphire carved leaves will surely chase the blues away (price available on request)
Photo credit: Cartier

Accessorising is an ancient practice dating back as early as 75,000 years ago. As it is today, jewellery was worn as a fashion statement as well as an expression of social standing. But precious stones, precious metals, shell and even leather were also worn as talismans to ward off evil, for good luck and even as a form of self- expression.

In the world of gemstones, there are a few superstars – diamond, emerald, ruby, and sapphire – favoured because of their beauty and rarity. Inside digs deeps to unearth the truth about them so you will know exactly what you are getting into the next time you go gem-shopping!

1. Diamonds – A Girl’s Best Friend

The Trinity Ruban Solitaire Vincent Wulveryck © Cartier 2013 (price available on request) is one in a series of four diamond rings you can pick from to set your loved one’s heart a flutter (price available on request)
The Trinity Ruban Solitaire Vincent Wulveryck © Cartier 2013 (price available on request) is one in a series of four diamond rings you can pick from to set your loved one’s heart a flutter (price available on request)
Photo credit: Cartier

Great Picks:

Cartier’s quartet of diamond encrusted rings retains the brand’s classic style injected with a modern touch. From a floral design to abstract patterns, and Cartier’s signature Trinity band, the collection is a statement of elegant style and impeccable taste.

White diamond specialist, Larry Jewelry’s Cherish (S$119,800) is a 2.53-carot pear-shaped diamond surrounded by 11 round diamonds set in 18k white gold. Their Dawn of Hope (S$535,400) ring features a whopper of a diamond - the 5.01-carat round diamond set in 18k white gold.

Why So Pricey:

Gemstones in general are costly because, as natural minerals, they take millions of years to form. So, supply cannot be easily increased even if demand does. Deposited in the top layer of the Earth’s crust up to 40 kilometres deep, they are also not easily accessible.

Diamonds top the list because only an estimated 350 tons of this stone has ever been mined. Of these, only half are of gem quality and even fewer are large enough to be cut into diamonds bigger than the head of a matchstick. The production process is also tedious. To produce a one-carat diamond, some 250 tons of ore must be minded and processed, passing through the hands of hundreds of people across at least four continents.

Pledge your love and devotion with Cherish (left) and Dawn of Hope (right) by Larry Jewelry
Pledge your love and devotion with Cherish (left) and Dawn of Hope (right) by Larry Jewelry
Photo credit: Larry Jewelry

How to Pick the Right One:

Diamonds are famously graded on four criteria - cut, clarity, colour, and carat.

“Cut is the most important factor. It determines the optimum combination of brilliance,” said Eric Tay, Retail Director, Larry Jewelry in Singapore.

“Our Lazare Diamond, of which we are the sole distributor Singapore and Indonesia, for example, retains the highest standard in cut grade. We adhere exclusively to an exact formula for cutting diamonds to precise angles and proportions to optimise reflection and refraction of light.”

If you are concerned, a trusted jeweller is important.

“Stones selected by Cartier have to go through a rigorous selection process that not only looks at the usual characteristics of a top quality stone but also the character of the stone. For example, a diamond could be of the best grade, but if it does not have the sparkle or fire that Cartier looks at, then that diamond will not be selected,” said Cartier’s spokesperson.

2. Green with Envy

L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style emerald bracelet by Cartier will have others green with envy (price available on request)
L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style emerald bracelet by Cartier will have others green with envy (price available on request)
Photo credit: Cartier

Great Picks:

Part of Cartier’s L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style collection, the emerald bracelet in platinum with five Colombian sugarloaf cushion-cut emeralds, onyx and diamonds is one-of-a-kind.

At Lee Hwa Jewellery, you can have beauty in your hands, or more specifically, on your finger. Their emerald ring has a 2.82 carat emerald surrounded 96 round diamonds with a total weight of 1.32carat (price available on request). You can pair this with the necklace that boasts a 5.62 carat oval emerald surrounded by 118 round diamonds with a total weight of 0.95 carats (price available on request).

Why So Pricey:

It might surprise some to know that top quality emeralds can sometimes cost more than diamonds. Emeralds have been prized since ancient times when they were thought to have healing powers. Of all the precious stones, emeralds are the rarest. In addition, they are mined by flux and hydrothermal methods which require expensive equipment and a lot of energy but yield only small quantities. Finally, emeralds are hard to cut and can shatter easily in the process.

Lee Hwa’s emerald ring (left) and necklace (right) pair the star of the pieces – the emerald – with gorgeous round diamonds to set off the brilliance of the green gemstone (prices available on request)
Lee Hwa’s emerald ring (left) and necklace (right) pair the star of the pieces – the emerald – with gorgeous round diamonds to set off the brilliance of the green gemstone (prices available on request)
Photo credit: Lee Hwa Jewellery

How to Pick the Right One:

“Like diamonds, coloured gemstones are also graded according to their colour, clarity, carat, and cut. For gemstones, the emphasis is on their colour. The more intense or vivid the colour, the more valuable the stone,” said Adeline Chang, Brand Manager, Aspial-Lee Hwa Jewellery Pte Ltd.

Often, where they are mined can also help determine their quality. The best emeralds come from Columbia and are a deep green. Even top-grade emeralds can have some cloudiness but it should have a significant amount of transparency. Check if the stone has been enhanced with oils or resins. These may clog the pores of the natural stone and dull its shine. Natural stones also come with certification. Ask for them to make sure you are not buying a synthetic stone.

3. Seeing Red

Cartier’s L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style collection takes the best inspirations and gems from around the world to create spectacular jewellery like this pair of dragon motif ruby ear-rings (price available on request)
Cartier’s L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style collection takes the best inspirations and gems from around the world to create spectacular jewellery like this pair of dragon motif ruby ear-rings (price available on request)
Photo credit: Cartier

Great Picks:

L’Odyssee de Cartier Parcours d’un Style earrings by Cartier in white gold with two East African rubies pear-shaped cabochons totaling 21.47-carats, and emeralds, pearls, and onyx accents set in diamonds is a dazzling example of how gemstones can create wearable works of art. The dragon motif recalls the splendour of China.

13 fancy-shaped rubies surrounded by 144 round diamonds that come up to approximately 3.18 carat make Lee Hwa Jewellery’s necklace a testament of quality and craftsmanship. To accompany it, Lee Hwa Jewellery offers the ruby ring with a 4.03 carat oval ruby surrounded by 66 round diamonds totalling 0.67carats.

Why So Pricey:

The oldest of precious stones, the best rubies are mined in Myanmar. Rubies are valuable because of their deep, rich colour and shine; and also because rubies of fine quality are exceedingly rare. They can be rarer than white diamonds by up to 300 times because Chromium, the element that makes rubies red, is available in the Earth at only 100 to 300 ppm (parts per million, a way of expressing very dilute concentrations of substances).

Red and white have never looked as divine as Lee Hwa Jewellery’s ruby ring (left) and necklace (right) (prices available on request) gorgeously accompanied by multiple diamonds
Red and white have never looked as divine as Lee Hwa Jewellery’s ruby ring (left) and necklace (right) (prices available on request) gorgeously accompanied by multiple diamonds
Photo credit: Lee Hwa Jewellery

How to Pick the Right One:

Rich red rubies are more valuable than those in lighter hues, and the ones from Myanmar are the most brilliant. When held up, the centre of the stone should not appear dark or have scratches on the surface. Unlike diamonds, instead of marring their quality, inclusions in rubies are like “fingerprints” and are testaments of their genuineness and natural origin.

4. True Blue

Satisfy your primal desires with this sapphire panther ring from Cartier (price available on request)
Satisfy your primal desires with this sapphire panther ring from Cartier (price available on request)
Photo credit: Cartier

Great Picks:

Cartier’s platinum, 24.46k cushion-cut panther sapphire ring from Ceylon, with onyx spots & nose, and emerald eyes lets you give in to your wild side. It is wearable art at it most exquisite.

Lee Hwa Jewellery’s sapphire necklace features a unique pear-shaped sapphire surrounded by seven round sapphires and 82 diamonds that come up to an amazing 3.34 carats. This will go wonderfully with the ring and its 4.24 carat oval sapphire surrounded by 68 round diamonds that weigh a total of 0.5 carats.

Why So Pricey:

Number Three on the coloured gemstones list is the sapphire. They come in a range of colours (though the deep red ones are called rubies), with velvety blue being the most popular.

Step out in Lee Hwa Jewellery’s sapphire necklace (left) and ring (right) and let the unique shape of the gemstones be conversation pieces (prices available on request)
Step out in Lee Hwa Jewellery’s sapphire necklace (left) and ring (right) and let the unique shape of the gemstones be conversation pieces (prices available on request)
Photo credit: Lee Hwa Jewellery

How to Pick the Right One:

Because sapphires come in so many shades, its colour – broken into hue (colour), saturation (brightness), and tone (light to dark) - counts for a lot. The best sapphires are a combination of 85 per cent blue and 15 percent purple. Any green in the sapphire is a sign of poor quality.

Larry Jewelry

Shop with us:

Cartier
2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard
#01-20 & #02-10
Singapore 238801
Tel: (65) 6732 0181
www.cartier.com
Larry Jewelry
2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard
#03-04
Singapore 238801
Tel: (65) 6235 5848
www.larryjewelry.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
200 Victoria Street
Bugis Junction
#01-19
Singapore 188021
Tel: (65) 6334 2838
www.leehwajewellery.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
2 Orchard Turn
ION Orchard
#B2-58
Singapore 238801
Tel: (65) 6509 8820
www.leehwajewellery.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
68 Orchard Rd
Plaza Singapura
#01-05
Singapore 238839
Tel: (65) 6338 1930
www.leehwajewellery.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
9 Bishan Place
Junction 8
#01-45
Singapore 579837
Tel: (65) 6354 3218
www.leehwajewellery.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
4 Tampines Central 5
Tampines Mall
#01-16
Singapore 529510
Tel: (65) 6786 2322
www.leehwajewellery.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
3 Gateway Drive
Westgate
#02-21
Singapore 608532
Tel: (65) 6465 9783
www.leehwajewellery.com
Lee Hwa Jewellery
2 Jurong East St 21
IMM Building
#01-11/12
Singapore 609601
Tel: (65) 6563 5857
www.leehwajewellery.com
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