Gemstone Alternatives to Emeralds, Sapphires and Rubies

What to wear now - Fashion Article

Emeralds and sapphires and rubies, oh my! The Big Three precious color gemstones are well known and on many "want" lists.


Looking for something more unique? A different shade? Look beyond the Big Three to semi-precious color gemstones. They come in a wide variety of colors and price points. You can get a bigger stone at a lower cost, resulting in a unique piece that becomes your go-to cocktail party conversation starter.

There are several ways to choose a color gemstone beyond the Big Three. We recommend focusing on color, the meaning behind a gemstone, and how you'll wear the piece of jewelry.


Let's start with color, since we're all naturally drawn to color. Gems come in all colors, making it easy to choose a favorite.


  • Blue: tanzanite, topaz, aquamarine
  • Purple: amethyst, alexandrite
  • Green: peridot, jade
  • Red: garnet, spinel, rhodolite
  • Pink: pink cultured pearls
  • Yellow: topaz, citrine
  • White: opals, cultured pearls
  • Black: onyx


Most color gemstones have symbolic meanings or special properties. Birthstones also have personal meaning, since they represent the month of your birth. If your birthday is in November, then a beautifully faceted citrine may have more meaning to you than an expensive sapphire.

This deeper meaning and symbolism can make your jewelry more personal and meaningful.

How will you wear it?

This is an important question because some stones are very hard and others are soft.

Are you hard on your hands? Then you might not want an opal ring you plan to wear daily, because opals are soft. Think about an opal necklace or earrings instead.

As a rule, try for harder stones in rings and bracelets and softer stones in necklaces and earrings.

Now that you know you have so many choices, you can move beyond the big three with style and ease.