By Jordan Clary in Reno, Nevada
One of the most stunning sights where I live on the high desert is the sunlight. It doesn't matter if it's sunrise or sunset, but there are a few moments when the sun slips from one contrast into another and the entire desert is bathed with every shade of red and violet imaginable. If a stone bled, it would be this colour.
Rubellite could be described in the same words. From soft, dusky pink to the most vivid crimson, rubellite is not only stunningly luminous, but an extremely wearable gem as well. It has a hardness of 7 to 7.5 on the Mohs scale and is very easy to care for.
A member of the tourmaline family, rubellite is known for its nuances of red. However, not every red tourmaline is worthy of being called rubellite. The thing that distinguishes it from other red tourmaline is the way it holds its colour in either natural or artificial light. Many coloured gemstones change colour depending on the lighting, but a true rubellite will hold its colour under both natural and artificial light.
Rubellite is also unusual because of its inclusions. Inclusions are generally considered unfavourable qualities in a gemstone, but many collectors find rubellite's subtle inclusions make them more interesting. Nevertheless, fewer inclusions do make for a more valuable gem.
The beauty of rubellite makes it an exceptional centrepiece in high-end jewellery such as Van Cleef & Arpels' Lady's Cocktail Ring in yellow gold. The turquoise and diamond accents provide a perfect contrast to highlight the central rubellite.
Diamonds and sea-colour chrysoprase in Piaget's new Rose Passion earrings compliment the deep-pink pear-shaped rubellites. My favourite earrings, however, are by Calleija with pink rubellite with diamond accents. The delicate elegance of the design allows the scintillating pink stones to reveal their natural beauty.
Rubellite has a playful, almost flamboyant side as well, as shown by Avakian's Joker collection earrings and ring with rubellites and black and white diamonds.
And it's a gem that works well with others. The Bulgari Diva high jewellery necklace combines rubellites with amethysts, emeralds, turquoise and diamond pavé to create a look that's colourful and very, very precious.