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What’s in a
The use of historical terminology to describe colour
By Carole C. Richbourg
Photo courtesy Christie’s Images Ltd. 2015
T simple enough. Yet, when it comes
black and white.
Jewellery Business / July 2016
JB_July2016 B.indd 12
by the title of this article seems
to coloured gemstones, it’s not quite so
Described in its report as ‘pigeon’s blood red,’
this 15-carat Burmese ruby ring went on the
auction block last year, selling for $18 million U.S.
12 he answer to the question posed
When I think of a well-cut almandine
garnet, I envision jewel-like votive
candles in a church lined up like
soldiers, offering prayers to heaven with
ﬂickering ﬂames. Kashmir sapphires
conjure images of a Milk of Magnesia
bottle. Depending on where and in which
culture you were raised, the visual of
these gemstones might be very different.
Consider two traditional names for very
ﬁne ruby and sapphire: ‘pigeon’s blood
red’ and ‘cornﬂower blue.’ In countries
where one ﬁnds these treasures, these
names carry certain meanings. To the
worldwide consumer, however, they
evoke great value.
Today, demand for very ﬁne gemstones,
such as Burmese rubies and Kashmir
sapphires, is at an all-time high. These
gems are being offered at well-known
auction houses; to achieve record prices,
they are accompanied by laboratory
reports stating origin, level of treatment,
and historical terms to describe colour.
w w w. j e w e l l e r y b u s i n e s s . c o m
2016-05-26 11:04 AM