Precious and Adored
Six Gemstones for Every Bridal Style
Katie Gastley, Rocket Ink
Choosing your engagement ring or looking for the perfect earrings to complement your “I Do” updo? Like your betrothed (the ultimate accessory), your bridal bling says a lot about you. Sapphires are a sought-after “something blue,” but topaz and aquamarine are popular alternatives. Are you a diamond diva or a pearl girl? We consulted Lee Lally and Lindsay Parker at Custom in NoDa to put together this go-to guide for adding some sparkle to your wedding-day look.
Meaning: A symbol of love and purity—and the birthstone for lucky April gals.
Color: The most common is clear, but they come in any color, from black to champagne, brown to pink. Deep yellow is a popular choice.
Care: Clean and maintain your diamond ring on a regular basis. Parker suggests cleaning diamonds (and most other gemstones) with a mild hand soap, a soft toothbrush, and water.
Before buying: The classic advice, to pay attention to the “4 Cs”—cut, color, clarity, and carat–still holds, and it’s nice to have a diamond certified by a reputable lab, such as the Gemological Institute of America. However, “I think the most important thing is to buy a diamond you love,” Parker says.
Meaning: Sapphire is the birthstone for September and is said to symbolize nobility, truth, sincerity, and faithfulness.
Color: The most common color is blue, but sapphires come in every color imaginable, from yellow to pink to black.
Care: Sapphires are precious gemstones, only slightly softer than a diamond. A sapphire can be worn as an everyday piece.
Before buying: The most desirable—and therefore pricey—shade is deep blue, but Parker says customers can often find good deals on other colors and on lighter shades of blue.
Meaning: Emerald is the birthstone for May and is said to symbolize good fortune.
Color: Emeralds are always green, but the shades vary from light to deep green. The richer the color, the more valuable.
Care: Although an emerald is also a precious gemstone, it is softer and slightly more fragile than a sapphire.
Before buying: Don’t worry if you see some minor inclusions in the gemstone, Parker says. The color should be the focus. “It’s extremely rare to find an emerald without any flaws,” she says.
Meaning: The November birthstone is associated with faithfulness, friendship, and loyalty.
Color: Blue is most common for topaz; however, the most precious color is pink, known as an imperial topaz. The gemstone also has white, yellow, and smoky versions.
Care: Topaz is a semiprecious gemstone and is not recommended as an everyday piece.
Before buying: The most important thing to look for in a topaz, like most gemstones, is clarity, Parker says.
Meaning: The March birthstone. According to the Gemological Institute of America, it is thought to enhance the happiness of marriages.
Color: Aquamarine varies from very pale/light blue to deep sky blue.
Care: This stone is more delicate and not ideal to wear every day.
Before buying: As a general rule, the deeper the blue, the more valuable the stone, Parker says. In some cases, aquamarine may have more green than blue; although green is not the classic shade of aquamarine, it is rarer and therefore potentially more valuable.
Meaning: The pearl is the traditional birthstone for June. According to the Gemological Institute of America, many cultures have associated pearls with the moon, although in Europe, they symbolize modesty and purity.
Color: Mainly found in white, cream, and Tahitian (a rich, black-green color), they also come in gray, yellow, orange, pink, lavender, green, and blue.
Care: Pearls are very porous and can be damaged easily by lotions, perfumes, and even the type of detergent you use if the piece rubs against your clothing. “Pearls need oils to keep them from cracking,” Parker says. If you don’t wear yours frequently, she suggests taking them out and handling them every so often to keep them from drying out.
Before buying: Know the difference between Akoya, cultured, and freshwater pearls—there is a big difference in the pricing.