By Anthony DeMarco in New York
Having grown up in the gemstone business, Niveet Nagpal has strong opinions when it comes to natural coloured gems.
The president of Omi Privé, known for its handcrafted jewels featuring rare, natural coloured gems, says that for buyers of jewellery featuring precious stones, the emotional aspect should trump all other concerns.
"The stones should speak to you," he says. "Gemstones are nature's gift to mankind and I believe each individual has the ability to connect with these gems."
After the emotional impact, then, it's time to look at the more technical aspects of buying gems, with the most important factor being colour, followed by rarity.
"The richer, more vivid colours will be the most valuable," says Nagpal. "The rarer a specific stone type is in nature, the more valuable and coveted it should be."
Then the natural gem must exhibit "fire" or brilliance, with nature and man playing a part in the process.
"The clarity and brightness of how the gemstone is formed play a role in its brilliance, and this factor cannot be changed," he points out. "A well-cut stone can bring out more brilliance and sometimes even improve the colour."
The price of rubies, emeralds and sapphires from the world's most sought-after locations now demand astronomical prices. However, there are good-quality alternatives, says Nagpal.
"Spinel is a great alternative to ruby. It is harder to source, making it rarer, and it's generally brighter because of its crystal properties." In addition, he says Mozambique rubies are a cost-effective alternative to rubies from Burma.
He recommends the "bright and deep saturated greens" of tsavorite and chrome tourmaline as alternatives to emerald. And sapphires in lighter shades of blue are also reasonably priced.
Spinel is one of Nagpal's favourites these days along with the pinkish-orange padparadscha sapphire. "The finer quality stones are extremely rare and not well known to many people, which makes each mesmerising design more valuable."
With Radiant Orchid named the 2014 Pantone Color of the Year, there has been a trend toward pink stones. Nagpal says this doesn't factor much into Omi Privé designs, however. "We don't necessarily follow fashion trends as our pieces are designed to be timeless."
Read more on bi-coloured jewellery
Omi Privé one-of-a-kind alexandrite and diamond ring with a 2.69ct oval alexandrite accented with round-cut alexandrites and brilliant-cut diamonds set in platinum (US$112,500).
Omi Privé sapphire and diamond bracelet with 11.89ct of sapphires accented with 474 round diamonds set in platinum (US$137,5000).
Omi Privé emerald and diamond bracelet with 7.38ct of round emeralds accented with 1.78ct of brilliant-cut diamond set in platinum and yellow gold (US$75,000).
Omi Privé Padparadscha sapphire and diamond three-stone ring with an 8.16ct cushion Padparadscha sapphire accented with 0.75ct of half-moon diamonds and 0.70ct of brilliant diamonds set in platinum and rose gold (US$122,500).
Omi Privé ruby and diamond earrings with 8.16ct of unheated oval rubies accented with 1.78ct of marquise-cut diamonds and 1.69ct of brilliant-cut diamonds set in platinum (US$750,000).
Omi Privé ruby and diamond eternity wedding band with 3.09ct of round rubies and 0.53ct of brilliant-cut diamonds set in yellow gold.
Omi Privé ruby and diamond necklace with 37.04ct of round rubies accented with 6.48ct of brilliant-cut diamonds set in platinum and yellow gold (US$375,000).
Omi Privé fancy sapphire and diamond bracelet with 81.94ct of multi-coloured rose-cut fancy sapphires accented with 2.45ct of pink and purple sapphires and 12.52ct of round diamonds set in white and rose gold (US$120,000).
Omi Privé spinel and diamond ring with a 5.12ct cushion spinel accented with fancy-cut pink diamonds and brilliant-cut diamonds set in platinum and rose gold.
Omi Privé trapiche sapphire and diamond reversible pendant, handcrafted with a rare 106.10ct trapiche sapphire slice accented with diamond-cut sapphires and brilliant-cut diamond set in white gold (US$40,000).
Omi Privé tsavorite and yellow diamond pendant with an 8.54ct fancy-cut tsavorite accented with 0.97ct of fancy-cut yellow diamonds set in yellow gold (US$150,000).