Gemstones in Fashion: Pantone's Spring Color Trends and the 2014 Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid

It was 67 degrees today and not a cloud in the sky. When Brother and I went out for ice cream, he said, "Doesn't it feel great out here?" And I said, "Sure does, I love days when you can't even feel the air." Those are my favorite days–when the air isn't colder than me and isn't warmer than me–it's just right. Today was just right, and that means one thing: It's almost Spring.

My favorite season, spring means flowers blooming (which I love), nice weather (also love), and sweet-smelling breezes. It also means lots and lots of color. Spring seems to be one of the most fashion-minded times of year, when stores are full of colorful new wardrobes and folks flock to buy fresh new clothes for a fresh new year–especially after months of wearing old sweaters and heavy coats during the mostly-brown months of winter.

If you make jewelry to sell, it's wise to think of color and fashion when you make new pieces. Pantone's Fashion Color Reports give you a professional hint at the colors that will be prevalent in fashion each spring and fall, so you'll know what colors to use when making jewelry if you want to coordinate with all those clothes and increase your chances of selling more jewelry. To put it simply, these are the colors you'll see in fashion, making chances good that folks will be looking for coordinating jewelry.

When I think of ways to make jewelry colorful, as well as fashionable and marketable, gemstones immediately come to mind. Here are the gemstones that will help you add Pantone's spring 2014 colors to your jewelry designs. This was a hard batch of colors to match, being filled with pastels that only almost match common gems, vivid colors that seem too bright and saturated to match most gems, and neutrals that seem closer to metals than gemstones . . . but hopefully this list will get you started.


Placid Blue: Aquamarine is the first gem I think of when I see this pretty baby blue color, followed closely by larimar, though most larimar is a little more on the greenish-blue side. Other gems that match Pantone's placid blue include chalcedony, blue topaz, fluorite, and some apatite.

Violet Tulip: Chalcedony is a perfect match for this periwinkle blue. Iolite, when not very saturated, could also match, as could tanzanite. Fluorite and purple jade are other good matches.

Hemlock: Chrysoprase is usually more saturated green than this color, but it's a possible match, as are some jade, chalcedony, and fluorite gems. Really affordable emeralds are about this shade, too. It's a little too bluish-green for peridot and prehnite, but prasiolite would work.

Paloma: There are more gray gems than you might think: agates and jaspers, rough/raw diamonds, some tourmaline, hematite, pyrite. . . . Moonstone and its cousin labradorite have a fairly grayish look along with a glowing bluish adularescence and would make a fun match for this color. Don't forget gray and silver freshwater or Tahitian pearls. 

Sand: This is a tough one, because it's not very colorful, at least not in the way we often think of gemstones. Champagne diamonds come to mind immediately, but beyond that . . . crickets! If you google "tan gemstones," you get a wide variety of agates and jaspers. There just aren't many tan or taupe-colored gems, especially transparent ones. Smoky quartz is a possibility, too.

Freesia: This bright yellow is so vivid, most transparent gems won't quite seem to do the trick. Yellow fire opal is one that could have this rich color, as well as very saturated yellow sapphire and yellow or golden beryl (helidor). Grossular garnet might work, as well as yellow chalcedony and yellow jade, though I admit I've never seen yellow jade "in real life" (that I know of . . . ), so I don't think it's readily available.

Cayenne: This very-slightly-orange shade of red is a favorite color of mine. Like freesia above, it's such a vivid and saturated color, it's hard to think of transparent gems living up to this hue, but spinel (another favorite) comes to mind, as does coral and carnelian in the opaque gem category. Some garnets can also provide this color.

Celosia Orange: This pretty, pure orange makes me want a glass of juice. It's another vivid color, but transparent gems like hessonite or spessartite garnet could do the trick, as well as fire opal and some orange sapphire. I don't think citrine would quite reach this hue. Some orange topaz might get pretty close. Other options include carnelian (especially bright translucent ones) and aventurine.

Dazzling Blue is a bright, cheerful, pure blue color. When I think of blue gems, sapphire is first–but this bright color is beyond nearly all sapphires. Benitoite and hauyne are two rare, expensive stones that nearly match this hue. Kyanite, fluorite, and apatite are three more affordable possibilities. Lapis lazuli and sodalite are affordable and readily available opaque options, though often a little darker than this shade.

  radiant orchid Pantone color of the year 2014
Photos courtesy of Pantone.

And the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year, Radiant Orchid: This regal purple color screams amethyst–appropriate since amethyst was once a gem reserved only for royalty and clergy but is readily available and affordable now. Fluorite is another readily available gem that comes in a few shades of purple. Other gems available in orchid hues include sapphire, some iolite, tourmaline, garnet (especially pyrope and some rhodolite garnets), and spinel. You can also consider scapolite and kunzite.

Can you think of gemstones I missed for these colors? I'd love to hear in the comments below. And if you want to learn more about these and other gems, subscribe to Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist magazine for regular features about gemstones and projects that show them off.

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