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Beyond the Big 3 Gemstones

The Big 3 - Sapphire, Ruby and Emerald - have long been the most popular coloured gemstones across the world. Each has a huge history behind them and they remain  the most traditional gemstones to this day. In fact, before advancements in gemmology which enables us to identify different gemstones, the assumption was that all blue stones were Sapphire, all red gemstones were Ruby and all green gemstones were Emerald.

Following advancements in gemstone identification, it was discovered that famous jewellery collections and stones were not what they seemed. The famous Black Prince Ruby turned out to be a Spinel and Cleopatra’s Emerald collection was in fact Peridot. As our knowledge of the science behind gemstones has advanced it has made it easier to correctly identify coloured gemstones, revealing the vast array of different materials that exist in our natural world; some of which have gained such popularity in recent times that they are arguably equal in value to and rival The Big 3.


Aquamarine has been growing in popularity, especially after Megan Markle wore Princess Diana’s Aquamarine ring to their evening wedding reception. But there are other aspects of this gemstone that have made it such a popular one to own. Aquamarine is a relatively hard stone, being about 8 on the Mohs scale, so with careful wearing it is possible to wear the stone every day. It comes in huge variations of saturated blues so there is one to suit any skin tone.


A subtle increase in saturation can make the price of Aquamarine jump, but you can only really see the difference when the stones are lined up side by side. If budget is an issue, going for the less saturated colour at a lower price is a good option, as you are unlikely to recall the colour difference of the more expensive Aquamarines once they are separated. When it comes to Aquamarine, and the other gemstones mentioned in this blog, compared with The Big 3, you can get a much larger stone for your money.


Morganite comes in baby pinks and salmon/peachy pinks, with the trade considering the baby pinks to be more valuable. Of late, though, it has been the peachier pinks that have been in popular demand. However, despite their popularity, the peachy pink Morganites carry a lower price compared to the baby pink gemstones. Like Aquamarine, Morganites are 8 on the Mohs scale and have been a popular choice for engagement rings over the past couple of years.

Morganite Ring by Eau Rouge


Tourmalines are also a great alternative gemstone to The Big 3. These versatile gemstones come in such an array of colours, to the point that it is more likely that some of the more difficult gemstone colours to come by, say a bright teal colour, will be found in Tourmaline rather than any other coloured gemstone.


The Paraiba Tourmaline comes in an almost neon blue and green. While some are put off, thinking that such a starkly contrasting colour effect cannot be naturally occurring, others clamour for these distinctive gemstones, paying a lot of money to get their hands on one.

The plethora and variety of coloured gemstones means that are many attractive, both from a visual and a budgetary perspective, alternatives to the The Big 3.

Gemstone specialist GF Williams supplies a huge range of high quality coloured gemstones and is an expert and experienced gemstone supplier to designers, manufacturers, collectors and private clients.

Find out more about how GF Williams can fulfil your gemstone requirements by browsing our online gemstone catalogue or contacting our friendly team of gemstone experts on +44 (0) 207 405 5477 or email office@gfwilliams.co.uk.