Get in the Pink with Pink Gemstones

If you paint, you know there is no such thing as a “light red.” Lighten a red pigment and you instantly have pink, its coy cousin. The same is true of pink gemstones. When the quintessential red gemstone—ruby—starts to lighten, you very quickly have a pink sapphire.

ABOVE: For a range of pinks—orange pinks, pink pinks, lavender pinks, to actual lavender—look no further than the family of spinels, one of the least known and underrated gemstones. Photo courtesy Mark Smith, Thai Lanka Trading.

That’s not a bad thing. Pink is the favorite color of many women. And it is widely available in the gem world. From pale pinks, to lavender pinks, to salmon pinks, to shocking pinks, there is a gemstone to please the pickiest pink lover.

pink gemstones: The poster child for passionate pink: this 13.19 carat, cushion-shaped Brazilian rubellite. Photo by Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International.

The poster child for passionate pink: this 13.19 carat, cushion-shaped Brazilian rubellite. Photo by Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International.

We’ve already looked at pink zircon, the “official” alternate to opal as the birthstone of October. But if you can’t find (quite possible) or can’t afford a pink zircon, there are plenty of other pink stones to choose from.

Pink Gemstones: Sapphire

The aforementioned pink sapphire is always a good choice. Once, almost any reddish sapphire was slapped with a ruby label. But in recent years, pink sapphires have come into their own and found buyers who love them. As an added bonus? They can often be very affordable.

There is nothing negative to say about sapphires. Sapphires are hard and durable. You’ll have them for a lifetime of daily wear. They are often eye-clean and well cut, and come in almost any shape and size you can imagine. When it comes to pink, they come in all shades–from delicate pink, to lavender pink, to salmon pink, to almost red.

pink gemstones: These set of three mouth-wateringly pink rubellites would stop anyone in their tracks. There is nothing subtle or innocent about this pink. Photo by Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International.

These set of three mouth-wateringly pink rubellites would stop anyone in their tracks. There is nothing subtle or innocent about this pink. Photo by Mia Dixon, courtesy Pala International.

Pink Gemstones: Rubellite Tourmaline

Pink tourmalines are also very high on the list when you start thinking about pink stones, and it’s also been used as an alternate birthstone for October. The queen of pink tourmalines, of course, is the rubellite, which can range from hot pink to red. Lighter colored rosy tourmalines are more correctly called pink tourmaline, although you’ll still hear them called rubellite.

While rubellites are, like any stone approaching red, priced fairly high, when you drift down the color value scale to the lighter pinks, the stones become much more affordable at $100 to $200 per carat for lovely stones. Tourmalines, too, have only positive traits, yet hard, durable, beautiful, pink tourmalines are often shadowed by their rubellite sisters. (Pink tourmalines may have been heat treated to drive off any brown tinge, but the treatment is stable and undetectable.)

Pink Gemstones: Spinel

Another overlooked pink stone is one of my favorites: pink spinel. At 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, they will endure about anything you can dish out and still look gorgeous. Spinels come in all shades of pink to red lavender or lavender pink. In recent years, the more reddish spinels have become more expensive, but the lavender pink stones are still highly affordable, at $50 per carat and up. You can take the time you need to find a well-cut, eye-clean stone that you’ll love for years.

pink gemstones: Pink topaz is one of the prettiest of pink gemstones. This stone from around the town of Ouro Preto in Brazil, cut by John Dyer, won second place in the All Other Faceted Category of the AGTA Spectrum/Cutting Edge Awards in 2014. Photo by David Dyer, courtesy John Dyer Gems.

Pink topaz is one of the prettiest of pink gemstones. This stone from around the town of Ouro Preto in Brazil, cut by John Dyer, won second place in the All Other Faceted Category of the AGTA Spectrum/Cutting Edge Awards in 2014. Photo by David Dyer, courtesy John Dyer Gems.

Pink Gemstones: Topaz

Another lovely pink stone is the pink topaz, although prices for natural or heat-treated pink topaz are stratospheric. Topaz is a very hard stone, at 8 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, but it does have a direction of cleavage that can make it a bit brittle. If you invest in a pink topaz, you won’t want to risk whacking it on a granite counter top.

The high price of pink topaz is the reason you’ll find imitations (CZ comes to mind) on the market. One such imitation is called Mystic Topaz. (An internet search will bring it up quickly.) Be sure the seller tells you what it is. It is a colorless topaz, which on its own is a fairly lackluster stone, that has been coated with something to give it rainbow colors. One website shows a variety of “pink topaz” that they rightly disclose as Mystic Topaz. Beware the sellers who are not upfront about it. Coating is NOT a permanent treatment and the seller should disclose it and tell you how to care for the stone. While the base stone may be topaz, and while the coating may be pink, it most certainly is not a pink topaz, nor should it be priced as one.

pink gemstones: rose quartz

The delicate color of rose quartz should almost be in the dictionary when you look up the word “innocence.” Photo courtesy Tom Wolfe, Wolfe Lapidary.

Pink Gemstones: Rose Quartz

If you want a softer, sleepier look than is common with most faceted stones, one of the loveliest stones out there is rose quartz. Although a crystalline quartz, rose quartz is a massive variety. That means it’s made up of tiny crystals of quartz that have grown together in a random orientation, which is what contributes to its sleepy or hazy look. Rose quartz is most often cut as cabochons to show off their color and translucency. Hard and durable, the delicacy of their color can often be accented by other pink stones. In a previous post we talked about pink and how it symbolizes innocence. This is the stone I think of when I think of that connection.

If you never gave up pink as your favorite color, or you are looking for something to go with spring colors, or if you want your gemstones to shout passion and sexiness, think pink.

Gemstone Pricing Tip

Note: When I quote prices, one of the sites I check is Gemselect.com. I’ve found their information reliable and honest, and their selection is wide ranging. I’ve never purchased anything from them, so can’t speak to that, but their stones appear to be above average commercial quality: well cut, usually well colored, and are of decent clarity (at least, what you can tell from images).


Sharon Elaine Thompson is a GG and FGA who has been writing about gemstones and jewelry for Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist since 1987. She also writes a line of birthstone romance novels under the name Liz Hartley.


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