As fashion is breaking ground on a new chapter, one that promotes inclusion, diversity, and acceptance of self, another industry is leading a parallel mission. Gemfields is a world-leading supplier of responsibly sourced colored gemstones, particularly rubies and emeralds. Colored gemstones – unlike their “colorless and flawless” diamond counterparts – are hailed for their inclusions. Increasingly, they are becoming the gemstone of choice for luxury-savvy women around the world.
“Inclusions tell interesting stories,” starts Gemfields gemologist Elena Basaglia. “They don’t deduct or detract from the value of the gemstone and can add value, making each gem unique.” The gemologist explains that when a gemstone is examined under the microscope, its inner, “parallel world” is revealed. “This is the most magical bit that drives all gemologists to learn more,” she says. “You start from a technical perspective – if there is a crack, it is there for a reason.” Akin to a woman’s wrinkles, a gem’s fissures speak of its past and its origins. “You have these little features that are surrounded by the body color of the gemstone; they seem suspended in time and space. It is mystical,” she says, adding that synthetic or lab-grown gemstones simply cannot mimic the kind of inclusions that nature creates.
Gemfields gemstones are responsibly sourced from its Kagem emerald mine in Zambia, which is responsible for 25% of the world’s emerald supply. The group also owns the Montepuez ruby deposit in Mozambique, where the remarkable 45ct Eyes of the Dragon ruby and 40ct Rhino ruby were found. Beyond mining, Gemfields is committed to furthering the countries with projects that protect their biodiversity and also elevate the livelihoods of locals via educational, health, and agricultural projects. As women become increasingly attentive to the backstories of their gemstones, a Gemfields ruby, emerald, or sapphire is an assured statement of conscious goodwill – actions that are aligned with the United Nations’ sustainable development goals. “I have been to the mines and I was lucky to even take some clients on the journey with us,” recalls Basaglia. “It’s important to take people to see it with their own eyes. And show them what we actually do.”
Having established the gemstones’ distinctive values of transparency, legitimacy, and integrity, its external features are then admired and assessed – keeping in mind, personal feelings towards a gemstone should always sway any purchase. There are no engrained rules; a gem’s ultimate beauty is determined by the eye of the beholder. Nonetheless, while examining a gemstone, consider doing so under natural night to best appreciate its characteristics.
As you raise your hand to hold a gemstone to the light, consider that this movement has been practiced for hundreds of years across many civilizations. Look at the gem’s hue, tone, and saturation. Emeralds’ color can vary from bluish-green to pure green with a wisp of yellow. Consider if it is deep and rich or light and delicate and decide what suits you. Next, examine the purity and strength of the color – if it is vivid and bright, or cloudy and dark. Like all its characteristics, the gemstone’s clarity is decided deep in the earth from where it is formed. As you ponder its inclusions, keep in mind that a gem with few visible inclusions will allow for more faceting when being cut, emphasizing its natural beauty. A skilled lapidary – emerald-cutting typically takes place in India while ruby-cutting occurs mostly in Thailand – will carve its elegant shape. Often it is the shape of the rough gemstone itself that will dictate if it will take around, pear, baguette, cabochon, or princess cut.
Don’t hesitate to ask for a certified report of your gemstone’s characteristics along with information on how to best care for it. Also think to ask if any treatments were used to enhance its appearance; keeping in mind that for those seeking perfection, this is what nature does best.
Originally published in the December 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia