Revered as a near-sacred stone in the Middle Ages, opal was thought to possess the combined powers of all other gemstones. Indeed, its reflection of a myriad of colors—clear, white, gray, red, yellow, green, magenta, pink, olive, brown, and black—infuses the stone with a visually arresting luminescence that makes it a striking choice for fine jewelry. Specialty variations include the fire opal, combining yellow, orange, and red, and the Peruvian opal, which imparts a pleasing blue-green shade.
Red and black variations are the most valuable, while the more common white and green opals hold a lesser value. “Precious opal” refers to variations of the mineral composed of silica spheres that display an interplay of various shades of color.
Deposited as a mineral gel, opal can be found in a wide variety of rock formations, including basalt, limonite, sandstone, and rhyolite. Common opal can be found in nearly all countries, while the occurrence of precious opal deposits is limited to the United States, Mexico, Australia, Brazil, and Ethiopia. Australia is the source of a vast majority of the world’s opal supply.
Named after the Latin word opalus (meaning “precious stone”), the opal is believed by many to bring good luck to its wearer. The birthstone for the month of October, it’s one of the most popular gemstone gifts.
Its striking green color makes the emerald a popular choice for adorning fine jewelry and rings. Derived from the mineral Beryl, emeralds get their brilliant green hue from a small amount of naturally occurring chromium. An emerald can vary widely in color, from pale green to a deep bluish shade. Color, cut, clarity, and size are the four defining characteristics that determine the value of an emerald gemstone.
The earliest mining of emeralds took place in Egypt, Austria, and Pakistan. In ancient times, the stone was reputed to enhance clairvoyant powers and was often buried with mummies as a means of preserving the spirits of the dead. Today, the highest quality stones are found in the Colombian mines of Muzo, Coscuez, and Chivor; these prized stones boast an unrivaled brilliance and transparency.
The birthstone for the month of May, the emerald also commemorates 20th, 35th, and 55th wedding anniversaries and is the traditional gemstone for the Zodiac signs of Taurus and Cancer. Symbolizing love, prosperity, and overall happiness, the emerald was known as the crowning jewel of Queen Cleopatra from ancient Egyptian times.
On par with diamonds in terms of rarity, beauty, and quality, the emerald serves as an exquisite enhancement to any fine jewelry collection. We invite you to shop our hand-picked emerald assortment here at Brilliance, including our stunning diamond tennis bracelets with alternating gemstones.
One of the most precious and rare of today’s naturally mined gemstones, the ruby is an elegant choice for fine jewelry. Many are surprised to learn this popular stone is actually found in a diverse range of hues. In addition to the dark, fiery red that’s become its defining characteristic, it can be found in a medley of shades, ranging from near-burgundy to a pale pink. It’s this variation of color that determines the price of a ruby—the darker and brighter the stone, the more it will command on the market. Other considerations when evaluating the fineness of a ruby include clarity, cut, and size.
Named after ruber, the Latin word for red, the ruby is derived from the mineral corundum, also known as aluminum oxide. Although the stone is mined primarily in Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, and Kenya, it has also been found in various parts of the United States, including the Carolinas and Montana.
The official birthstone for the month of July, the ruby is also associated with the summer season and the astrological sign of Capricorn. It’s become a symbolic gift to commemorate 40th wedding anniversaries. Second only to diamonds in regard to hardness and quality, a fine ruby stone will endure beautifully for generations.
At Brilliance, many of our fine jewelry pieces are enhanced by premium ruby gemstones. Rubies serve as a striking complement when set in a diamond engagement ring, and also impart a simplistic beauty when worn as stud earrings or a pendant.