The enduring power of precious gems
Article by Rachel Garrahan


Throughout history, precious stones have captivated man’s imagination, prized across the world as gifts from the gods with the ability to bestow supernatural powers, good fortune, and sometimes bad luck.

The diamond, wrote Pliny the elder in the 1st century AD, is “the most valuable, not only of all precious stones, but of all things in this world.”

Hundreds of years after its discovery in India in the 4th century BC, the diamond continues to be the most prized material of all, achieving record-breaking prices at auction every year.

Formed deep beneath the earth, it is the hardest natural material on the planet allowing it to be cut in innumerable ways to reveal an unparalleled beauty and brilliance. When the diamond is the focal point, as with Monique Pean’s collar necklace or Deborah Pagani’s dramatic earrings, it has the ability to light up the wearer’s face and dazzle the observer.

It also provides added fire and sparkle when used an accent to other gems, such as the dreamy star burst of diamonds surrounding the central opal in Maiyet’s constellation ring.

The opal itself also has a rare beauty and storied history. Available in many varieties from the white opal to the Peruvian opal to the most precious of all, the Lightning Ridge (or black) opal of Australia, no two examples are ever the same.

The most prized are those that comes to life with fiery flashes of color from blue to green to orange to red, transporting the viewer to a bottomless sea or infinite universe. Described by Shakespeare as the “queen of gems”, the opal was believed by the ancient Greeks to give its owner the gift of prophecy and protection against disease.

Precious gemstones, whether formed at the earth’s core, amid rocky mountains or in ancient riverbeds, possess a mystical quality that makes them the perfect expression of our deepest emotions. As George Eliot once wrote: “These gems have life in them: their colors speak, say what words fail of.”

See all comments Comments     x

Leave a comment

You must log in via one of these options to comment:

More Articles