All about gemstones
Diamonds might steal the spotlight, but coloured gemstones are the real storytellers. Gemstones can be deeply symbolic, or just a pop of colour - but regardless of what brilliant hue you choose, they always turn heads.
At Michael Hill we offer a wide range of gemstone jewellery in all colours of the rainbow, including birthstone jewellery, gemstone rings, gemstone earrings, gemstone necklaces and gemstone engagement rings. Whether you’re shopping for a meaningful gift or a beautiful touch of colour for yourself, we have the perfect piece.
Browse our collections of gemstone jewellery by colour:
Sapphire is most often associated with its deep, dark blue hue – but did you know this precious gem is available in a rainbow of colours? Sapphire is the birthstone for September, and is thought to symbolise wisdom, serenity, and focus. It’s the second hardest gem on the Mohs scale, after diamonds, making sapphire the perfect choice for a gemstone engagement ring.
Fun fact:perhaps the world’s most famous sapphire engagement ring belonged to Princess Diana, who chose a stunning 12 carat blue sapphire – which is now worn by the Duchess of Cambridge.
Styling tip:take advantage of this gem’s gorgeous array of colour options and wear your favourite!Shop Sapphire
Aquamarine is a vivid, pale aqua-blue gemstone. It’s the March birthstone and is believed to enhance tranquillity, harmony, and strong connections. Aquamarine is a durable gemstone, rating 7.5 – 8 on the Mohs scale.
Fun fact:as the name suggests, aquamarine has always been associated with the sea. In fact, its name comes from the Latin words for ‘sea water’. As such it has ancient mythology attached to it, and was believed to protect sailors from harm on ocean voyages.
Styling tip:with its stunning pale blue hue, aquamarine is a highly versatile gem. Choose a piece with a sterling silver or white gold setting to highlight its clear aqua-blue colour.Shop Aquamarine
Blue Topaz is a vivid sky-blue gemstone that symbolises spiritual connections and peace, and is thought to protect the wearer. The birthstone for December, blue topaz is a strong gem with a Mohs rating of 8.
Fun fact:The association of blue topaz with protective powers is centuries old. The stone was worn as a protection amulet in some ancient cultures.
Styling tip:blue topaz looks stunning with silver or white gold, but it’s also bright enough to hold its own on a setting of yellow gold. Choose the look that best suits your personal style.Shop Blue Topaz
Ruby is a rich, vibrant red gemstone that symbolises vitality, passion, and seeking your heart’s desire. Ruby is the birthstone for July and, alongside sapphire, it is the second hardest gem with a rating of 9 on the Mohs scale.
Fun fact:ruby is in the same gem family as sapphire (called corundum). Only corundum gems with a red hue are ruby; all other colours are varieties of sapphire.
Styling tip:this eye-catching red gemstone lends radiance to every look – think of it as the jewellery equivalent to red lipstick. Pair a ruby piece or two with jeans and a t-shirt for effortless glamour.Shop Ruby
Garnet is a gorgeous dark red, almost burgundy, gemstone. The January birthstone, garnet is said to promote good health, vitality, and protection.
Fun fact:the name of garnet is derived from the Latin word for ‘seed’, since the shade of this crimson red gemstone resembles pomegranate seeds.
Styling tip:a richly coloured gem, garnet is surprisingly versatile with its neutral undertones. Wear garnet jewellery with just about anything. A rose gold setting will highlight its red tones.Shop Garnet
Amethyst is a beautiful purple gemstone which ranges from pale lavender to deep violet in shade. Amethyst is the birthstone for February and symbolises wisdom, stability, and strength.
Fun fact:Amethyst has a place in Ancient Greek mythology. The story goes that a young woman was turned into a crystal to protect her from Dionysus, the god of wine. As such the Ancient Greeks believed Amethyst could prevent intoxication.
Styling tip:this lovely lilac gem will add a feminine touch to every outfit.Shop Amethyst
Tanzanite is a dazzling indigo coloured precious gem. Its shade can appear different from various angles or under different lighting – ranging from blue to violet.
Fun fact:tanzanite’s name comes from the fact that the only known source of the gemstone is a very small geographic area in Northern Tanzania, near the base of Mt Kilimanjaro.
Styling tip:a centre stone of tanzanite surrounded by a halo of diamonds will play up the gem’s sparkle and unique colouring.Shop Tanzanite
Citrine has a bright golden hue and it was named from the French word ‘citron’, meaning lemon. A birthstone for November, citrine is thought to represent energy and abundance, and to brighten darkness.
Fun fact:in ancient cultures, citrine was known as the “merchant’s stone” and was believed to attract wealth.
Styling tip:gold is always in fashion. Wear citrine for a unique take, or layer it up with other yellow gold pieces for a luxurious look.Shop Citrine
The precious topaz is golden yellow gemstone and is a birthstone for November. It’s believed to promote confidence, joy, and healing. It’s a highly durable gem, with a Mohs rating of 8.
Fun fact:the name of topaz may have been derived from the Sanskrit for ‘heat’ or ‘fire’, based on its beautiful warm colour.
Styling tip:with its ability to add instant brightness, pair this gemstone with an all-black outfit for a hint of sparkling colour.
Diamond is renowned and valued for its rarity and beautiful sparkle, as well as its durability. Diamond is the hardest gemstone, with a rating of 10 on the Mohs scale. Most sought-after in its white shades, diamond also comes in an array of rare colours. The birthstone for April, diamond is associated with purity, strength, and love.
Fun fact:diamond is not only the hardest gem, but the hardest natural substance in the world. The only thing that can scratch one is another diamond. In fact, its name comes from the Greek for ‘unbreakable’. This is just one of the reasons why diamond is the preferred stone for engagement rings.
Styling tip:forever a classic and a favourite, wear diamonds with anything and everything!Shop Diamond
Cubic Zirconia (CZ)
CZ is a glittering crystal that is synthesised to recreate the sparkle of a diamond without the price tag. Most popular in its colourless version, CZ can also be created in any number of vibrant colours, making this stone a popular choice for fashion jewellery. It also has a very high level of hardness and wearability, so it’s perfect for cocktail rings and to dress up everyday looks.
Fun fact:a cubic zirconia is heavier than a diamond of the same size.
Styling tip:at an attractive price point, you can afford to opt for a larger stone or cluster in your favourite colour. This is the time to go big!Shop Cubic Zirconia
Opal is a shimmering gemstone that is usually seen in white but also comes in a variety of colours. Opals have radiant patterns of colour that are produced by the unique way light is diffracted in the stone – in fact, this process that creates a rainbow of light is called opalescence. Opal is an October birthstone and is said to promote hope, happiness and love.
Fun fact:Australia produces 95% of the world’s opals and it’s the Australian national gemstone.
Styling tip:wear your opal with white or pale colours to compliment its delicate hues and let its opalescence shine through.Shop Opal
Pearl is a lustrous, opaque gem. Often sought-after in white, pearls are also formed in a range of shades. Famously grown by oysters and mussels, the June birthstone is a beautiful symbol of perseverance and integrity.
Fun fact:Pearls are the only gemstone created by living creatures.
Styling tip:Pearl is a classic essential for every jewellery wardrobe. Add a touch of glamour with pearl stud earrings, or for ultimate versatility, select a long strand that you can layer or tie to create a range of lengths and shapes.Shop Pearl
Morganite is a soft peachy-pink gemstone revered for its beautiful clarity. From the same gemstone family as emerald, morganite is a durable gem and a stunning centre stone for a gemstone ring. With its pink hue, morganite is believed to symbolise love, compassion, and joy.
Fun fact:Morganite was only discovered in the early 20th century and was named after famous American banker and collector, J.P. Morgan.
Styling tip:select a rose gold setting to play up the pink tones of this beautiful gem. It layers perfectly with other rose gold pieces.Shop Morganite
Pink Tourmaline is a beautiful rose-pink gemstone believed to promote beauty, confidence, and positive energy. Pink Tourmaline is a birthstone for October.
Fun fact:the name Tourmaline is believed to have been derived from a term translating to ‘stone of mixed colours’, because the gem comes in a wide variety of vivid hues.
Styling tip:this blushing pink gemstone adds a feminine touch to every look. Contrast it with jeans or a leather jacket.Shop Tourmaline
Emerald is a brilliant, deep green gemstone. The birthstone for May, Emerald symbolises faith, love and new beginnings.
Fun fact:emeralds have been cherished since Ancient Egypt, and were Cleopatra’s favourite gem.
Styling tip:emeralds radiate glamour. Pair an eye-catching emerald ring, pendant, or earrings with evening wear.Shop Emerald
Peridot is a bright, yellow-green gemstone. It is the August birthstone and is associated with prosperity, fearlessness, and beauty.
Fun fact:Peridot has been called “the evening emerald” because it maintains its colour and glow even in darker lighting.
Styling tip:it’s the evening emerald for a reason! Wear your peridot jewellery for a night out and get ready to sparkle.Shop Peridot
Choosing a Gemstone Engagement Ring
An engagement ring is the most important piece of jewellery you will own, or that you’ll choose for your partner. As something to be cherished for a lifetime, it needs to reflect your love, your relationship, and your personal style – so that it’s a piece you will love to wear and admire for life.
Diamonds are traditionally the engagement ring stone of choice, because of their beauty, durability, and symbolism. However, a coloured gemstone can make a deeply personal statement about yourself and your relationship. Keep in mind that other gemstones are not as hard as diamonds, and are susceptible to the daily wear and tear your hands are subjected to; see below for our tips to make your gemstones sparkle for life.
It’s important not to choose a gemstone on a whim, or simply because the colour is in fashion. Take your time to select the perfect gemstone engagement ring.
Caring for your Gemstone Jewellery
It’s important to care for all of your jewellery pieces. Gemstones are more brittle than diamonds and they should be looked after to keep their brilliant colours sparkling. In particular, your gemstone rings need to be cared for since they are exposed to more daily wear and tear than gemstones worn on your ears or neck.
Of course, you should always look after your gemstone and diamond jewellery and avoid knocking them against hard surfaces.
What is the Mohs scale?
The Mohs scale of hardness is used to rank gemstones in order of their durability. It’s important to note that this hardness refers only to how easily the gemstone can be scratched. While diamonds can only be scratched by other diamonds, some softer gemstones can be at risk of scratching if they are rubbed against abrasive surfaces or harder gemstones.
Sapphires and rubies are the hardest gems after diamonds, making them popular choices as coloured gemstone engagement rings. All precious gems make beautiful engagement ring choices, but if you opt for a slightly softer gemstone, ensure you care for it properly.
We keep your gemstones sparkling
We recommend bringing your gemstone jewellery into your nearest Michael Hill store for professional and safe cleaning. We offer free jewellery cleaning at all of our stores, to keep your gemstone jewellery sparkling for life.
When you aren’t wearing your gemstone jewellery, keep it stored safely and away from extended strong heat or light.
What is a Created Gemstone?
At Michael Hill, we use both natural and created gemstones in our jewellery. You’ll notice the word ‘created’ in the description when shopping, but a better word is ‘recreated’. Why? Because created gemstones are carefully made in a laboratory with the same chemical structure as rare, natural gemstones. This means you’re getting a precious, brilliant stone at great value.
What is a Cultured Pearl?
The majority of the pearls used in jewellery are cultured pearls. These pearls are natural, and are grown by molluscs in pearl farms under controlled conditions. Pearls are extremely rare to discover in the wild, which is why jewellery is most often created with cultured pearls.
There are different types of cultured pearls. For freshwater cultured pearls, pearl growth is stimulated by implanting a piece of tissue into the mollusc, around which the mollusc forms the pearl over time. These pearls naturally form in a range of shapes, sizes, and colours, and each will have a unique look.