With Love from Laura
Why I am fascinated with and obsessed by colour
Discover the love of colour, with Fenton founder Laura.
My first flat looked like a box of crayons. The front door was red, there were purple doors inside, a bright green kitchen, a soft green living room, shades of pink fighting it out in the bedroom and bathroom. I couldn’t help it. It was pretty far from sophisticated by the time I was done but when I started playing with paint charts I had to try them all. Colour is divisive and controversial. The living room green drew particular ire from some who called it a hospital shade. Others asked for the name of the paint. I loved my pink bathroom, I had mixed the paint with white to make it even softer and more blush. No surprises, my now husband was not a fan. I don’t know when my love of colour began but I’m sure I’m not alone in it. Certain colours are so evocative, my memories each have their own tints and hues. Each country I’ve loved has its own set of shades, drawn from the way the light filters through to us there. For me colour is pleasurable, it’s expressive, it’s emotional.
My love of gemstones
Now onto gemstones. Let me start with diamonds in fact, and let me start by saying that I have absolutely nothing against diamonds. I think they can be beautiful. However I have never been drawn to them in the way I am drawn to gemstones.
When it comes to gemstones, colour equals complexity. With diamonds, colour can be distilled down to a single letter - D, E, F etc. White or less white with a sense that perfection sits at one end of the scale. Coloured gemstones are almost the opposite. Each of us sees colours differently and there is no one perfect colour. As well as the base colour there’s saturation, hue, dispersal and lustre as a basic starting point. All of these factors affect what we see and the combination of each go towards making each coloured gemstone feel truly unique.
There is no 'perfect' shade
At Fenton we understand that there is no one ‘perfect’ shade. Some people are drawn to rich, golden yellow sapphires, others prefer a light, champagne colour. We don’t exist to rule on which colours are right or wrong, we work with our customers to understand which shades are considered most beautiful as a starting point and then even refine them with individual customers on top of that. Light plays a huge role here - under the bright white light in India some gemstones sing far more than they do on a cold, grey day in the UK. We know how to take all these factors into consideration.
In case you’re curious, here are the shades I love best for each of our gemstones and why;
Starting with the blue sapphire. I’m biased. My engagement ring is a mid-light blue sapphire with a very bright saturated tone and a slight violet undertone and I’m obsessed with it. I love the way that the colour changes throughout the day with the changing light and that the colour feels so unusual and unique to me. There’s a huge range of blues, from light bright blues, to deep blue-blacks and we cater to a range of preferences.
Next up is my close second favourite, the emerald. I favour lively gemstones and lively and light are often close companions. A number of our customers prefer darker emeralds but I’m afraid I have to differ here. I love a light, bright green that packs a colourful punch. Emeralds tend to have one of two base colours - yellow or blue that subtly sit under the green and in that respect I have fallen in love with both in the past.
To round out the ‘big three’ I’ll address the ruby next. Rubies are not actually my favourite gemstone, I tend to keep red to lipsticks and it rarely makes it out of that category for me however I still have opinions here. A fun fact - Rubies are actually red sapphires. The line between a deep, hot pink sapphire and a bright pink ruby can blur. Most of our customers are looking for a deep, dark red (which I’ll come on to in a second) but I would advocate for the underdog that is the pinky-ruby. It goes towards my preference for brighter, more lively gemstones but I find this shade more feminine and flattering than a blacker, deeper red.
I’m going to come on to Garnets next to address a popular misconception. When a number of people come to us and ask for really dark rubies, they are often thinking of Garnets in fact. Garnets were hugely popular in Edwardian England, along with amethysts and peridots amongst others. A lot of us grew up gazing at a deep red stone that had been passed by our family, assuming it was a ruby red and in fact in a number of cases, it was most likely a Garnet.
Garnets have an inky red tone that is deep, rich and dark. The base colour can be black or orange with the orange-bases having a slightly lighter and brighter appearance in colour. It’s not only Garnets that are often mistaken for rubies - the largest jewel on the Crown Jewels was long thought to have been a ruby but is in fact not. It can traced back as a gift by the Spanish kings to Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the Black Prince, for a military victory in 1367. This spectacular gem is in fact a red spinel, also known as the impostor ruby for it’s striking similarity. Bottom line - if you’re looking for red there is a range of options, come to us with an open mind.
This one is short as I’m afraid to say I like almost all colours of yellow sapphire and find it too difficult to choose just one shade. I’ll limit myself to some of my favourite combinations we’ve made - one that springs to mind is a deep yellow oval Vintage set in yellow gold that looks so classical and is a complete showstopper. Another I love is the emerald cut Trilogy in a lighter shade - conversely it feels utterly modern and makes me think of Deco design and sparkling flapper girls drinking out of champagne coupes.
Pink is so personal - I love a paler pink or a deeper pink with a tint of mauve but let’s not neglect the classic hot pink. I’d described our pink sapphire shade of choice as a toned-down mid-hot pink that is bold as well as delicate. It’s super flattering on every skin tone and I love how it adds a unique twist to any setting.
This is one of our bestsellers and I can see why. Our aquas are a clear, clean, perfectly even blue that goes with everything and feels fresh and summery even on the darkest day. I am partial to a cushion cut or oval aqua but the emerald cut is the popular choice. My only tip for exploration here would be to consider being adventurous with the choice of metal colour, the Aquamarine goes perfectly with all metals - try rose or yellow gold to warm it up or stick with white gold or platinum for the classic combo.
Whichever colour you choose, I hope you enjoy the experience of bonding with your gemstone and discovering it’s little quirks, tones and shades - the knowledge about your gemstone is just as lovely a gift to pass on as the gem itself.