As Marilyn Monroe used to sing, “diamonds are a girl’s best friend.” However, at Thomaston Place, anything that glitters and shines has our attention!
Some of us also collect crystals and stones as a hobby, like me. My current obsession right now are any and all types of opal, amber and labradorite. Just like our fellow jewelry fanatics out in the world, we’re eager to see (and try on) what comes through our doors.
While diamonds, pearls and garnets are common in estate jewelry, we often get gems among them that leave us in awe. Below are our top six gemstones we love to see come through our doors, as well as helpful information on consigning jewelry with us.
Our absolute favorite gemstone, by popular bidder demand, has to be jade. This iconic and familiar stone often holds a delightful, pale green color, though some variations also come in apple green, white and caramel brown. Popular among Asian buyers for its variation and symbolic worth, jade is considered a highly-prized stone, much like how diamonds are to us in the western world. In China, jade was considered an ‘imperial’ stone, where only high-ranking members of the imperial family had access and were adorned in them. Jade has also taken hold of the beauty industry as well, as seen in gua shas, beauty rollers and more. Such a versatile stone!
Our favorite jade piece is this sleek Edwardian lady’s ring, which sold for $10,000 in our February 2013 feature auction. We’d like to see more soon!
Another favorite, but a rarity among estate jewelry we receive is tanzanite. This gorgeous, deep blue gemstone is only found and collected in one place in the entire world, the hills of northern Tanzania. You’ll find these commonly sold with jewelry produced from Tiffany & Co., as they have major corporate claims over many of the mines out in Tanzania. Though this stone is relatively new to the gemstone market, its violet-blue vibrancy has garnered mass interest, almost reaching popularity to match the long-standing emerald and ruby status.
Tanzanite is one of the many birthstones for the month of December, as well as the gemstone for a 24th anniversary, so if you’re looking for a gift fit for a December baby, or your special partner of 24 years, we’d recommend gifting a beautiful, timeless piece like this 18K gold tanzanite necklace, which sold for $1,500 in our August 2019 feature auction.
Next up, and my personal all-time favorite, is the alluring black opal.
Black opal mines first opened in Australia, 1902, but can also be found in areas around Ethiopia, and Honduras.
Although the 1829 novel “Anne of Geierstein” by Sir Walter Scott made people nervous about misfortune when wearing an opal, it’s only considered ‘unlucky’ by those not born in October, at least from what new age followers say.
In ancient Rome, however, opals were considered the gem of all gems, due to their iridescent splashes of color, and were considered a very powerful stone. Along with them, the arabic Bedouin tribe believed opals held lightning that struck the earth during thunderstorms.
Whether or not you believe this stone is unlucky or misunderstood, we can’t help but love holding these babies under black light and watching the colors dance.
Our favorite black opal jewelry piece we’ve sold so far includes this divine platinum ladies ring, with diamonds surrounding the opal. This gorgeous ring sold for $4,750 in our August 2013 feature auction.
We cannot continue this list without adding emerald to it. This gemstone holds the jewelry industry in its blue-green fist tightly. Along with rubies, emeralds dominate the jewel empire, and has so since ancient Egypt, as Cleopatra was known for her love and collection of emeralds.
Emerald mines span across the world, from Russia, Australia, Italy, Peru, Bolivia, and scattered across the many regions of the African continent. A reigning member of the beryl family, emeralds are known to be the birthstone of May, as well as the 20th and 35th anniversary stone.
Our top favorite jewelry item adorned in emeralds has to be this stylish, Art Deco diamond and emerald bracelet, which sold for $11,000 in our Summer’s Bounty auction in 2020.
We’d be doing a disservice as a Maine business if we did not add tourmaline to our list of favorites, as tourmaline is our state gemstone!
Tourmaline can be found in an array of bright colors, with the green-pink range being the most popular among collectors. Here in Maine, visitors can explore the Poland Mining Camps or the Topsham Quarry to find raw tourmaline. Like opal, this gorgeous gemstone is also an October birthstone, as well as the 8th anniversary stone.
We always enjoy any tourmaline jewelry brought to us, but one of our personal favorites has to be this stunning brooch, as its delicate intricacies ignite a sense of elegance with its precise stone placement. This brooch, which also holds sapphire and beryl, sold for $12,500 in our February 2013 feature auction.
Last, but certainly never least, another top worldly favorite, which really does reign supreme above all gemstones in the jewelry empire, is the ruby. Even across the globe in India, in the Sanskrit language, the word for ruby is ‘ratnaraj,’ meaning ‘the king of all gems.’ If you ever want to make a lasting impression on anyone, do it with rubies.
The most recent record-breaking sale for a ruby jewelry piece was made in May 2015, where a 25.59 carat ruby ring sold for over $1.2 million. Ruby is the birthstone for July, and is the gem for the 15th and 40th anniversaries.
We’ve had many beautiful ruby-encrusted estate jewelry pass through our auction house, but the one we’ve auctioned off with the most character has to be this dazzling 18K gold pendant with carved, floral ruby and emerald pieces. This unique piece sold for $3,000 in our January 2012 auction.
With these trending gemstones in mind, if you ever find yourself needing more information on the gemstones and jewelry you have in your possession, we highly recommend checking out the official Gemology Institute of America website, www.gia.edu, where you can look up not only information on your favorite stones, but also the grading process, local retailers near you, and news in the gemology world.
If you are considering downsizing your wardrobe, liquidating an estate, or have no use for your old jewelry, we recommend you send pictures to our appraisal team, at email@example.com. From there, we can help you through the process of consignment, or we can buy out your jewelry, day of appointment!
We stay true to our creed here at Thomaston Place, preserving history through all incoming consignments. Your jewelry holds provenance that bidders would come to love, we guarantee it.