Anissa Carroll’s passion for gemstones awakened as a child when she started making jewelry, and really started to flourish when she began studying gemstones and antique, period-style and famous-maker jewelry.
She is a gemologist graduate from the Gemological Institute of America, and has been working with the International Gemological Institute, known for its independent evaluations and grading of diamonds and colored gemstones, for the past 27 years.
Carroll travels extensively around the world to appraise jewelry for her private clients, but took time out for Elite Traveler readers to highlight some of her picks of the earth and seas’ finest gemstones.
Take a look at these exquisite gems, beautifully wrapped in platinum, gold, silver and copper, just in time for the holidays.
Paraiba Tourmalines range in color from vivid, neon blues to green. They are found in Brazil, Mozambique and Nigeria. Paraiba is very rare tourmaline. It was discovered in the state of Paraiba, Brazil, where today the supply is already nearly depleted. It is believed that copper plays a part in the unique coloration of this stone.
Gregg Ruth 18K white and rose gold earrings with 6.90 carats oval Paraiba, 1.91 carats white diamonds and .40 carats pink diamonds, $91,727, greggruth.com.
Changing-color sapphires are typically violet to purple in incandescent light and blue in daylight. They are found in Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Africa, Madagascar, Australia, China and the US. Changing colors is extremely rare in sapphires.
Bayco Platinum ring with 17.60 carats natural, unheated color-change green sapphire and 3.64 carats colorless diamonds, $240,000, bayco.com.
Spinels have a wide range of colors that includes violet, blue, orange, red, pink and purple. They are found in Cambodia, Burma, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Thailand. Due to the color spectrum of this gemstone, some of the world’s most famous rubies are actually spinel. Dating back to the 1300s, the British Imperial State Crown with its Black Princess ruby, weighing 170 carats, is an example of this.
Hemmerle Copper and silver ring with spinel and diamonds, price upon request, hemmerle.com.
Alexandrite is blue-green through yellowish-green in daylight, and orangey red through purple-red in incandescent light. It is found in Brazil, Sri Lanka and Russia. Alexandrite can be described as emerald by day and ruby by night. It was discovered in the early 1800s in Russia’s Ural Mountains and was named after the Czar, Alexander II. It caught the country’s attention because the colors resembled the Imperial Russian Flag. This stone is extremely rare, especially in larger sizes, and remains the quality standard for stones with chameleon-like color change.
JB Star Platinum necklace with 4.57 carats alexandrite and 2.53 carats diamonds, $79,000, jbstar.com.
Coral can be warm pink to dark red, orange, white, cream and occasionally blue or purple in color. It is found throughout the world, notably in the Mediterranean. The world has prized coral for centuries, believing it to have magical powers. The Romans used it to ward off evil, and today some still wear coral for protection against evil and sterility.
Aletto Brothers 18K gold bracelet with 75 grams of coral and 7.75 carats diamonds, $45,000, alettobrothers.com.
Zircon is found in Australia, Cambodia, China, Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam in shades of blue, green, yellow, orange, red, brown and purple. In the middle ages, zircon was thought to induce sound sleep, drive away evil spirits and promote riches, honor and wisdom.
Campbellian 18K gold earrings with 9.59 carats blue zircon, 12.49 mint green garnets and .32 carats diamonds, $19,800, campbellian.nyc.
Mandarin garnets are yellow-orange to reddish-orange in color. They are found in Sri Lanka, Kenya, Tanzania, Madagascar, Brazil, India, Canada and the US. In ancient history, the garnet was used for protection and believed to light up the night to protect the bearer from evil and disaster. The mandarin garnet is also referred to as “cinnamon stone,” because of its color and its historic connection to the spice-producing country of Sri Lanka.
Clementine 18K rose gold ring with 3.96 carats mandarin garnet, 1.03 carats peridot and 0.34 carats diamonds, $9,800, clementinefinejewelry.com.
From light to mid-light blue, Ceylon blue sapphires are found in Sri Lanka.
Ancient Greek and Roman kings and queens wore this stone to protect themselves from evil and harm. In the middle ages, clergymen wore the blue sapphire to symbolize heaven.
Zydo 18K gold ring with 17 carats no-heat Ceylon sapphire, $140,000, zydoamerica.com.
Melo Melo pearls can be tan, dark brown or orange. They are found in Southeast Asia, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, South China Sea and the Philippines. Melo pearls, formed in the Melo Melo sea snail, are very large compared to most pearls and cannot be cultured or farmed.
Assael 18K rose gold Soleil Orange pendant with 23.8 x 23.3 x 23.1mm Melo Melo natural salt water pearl and 4.31 carats white and cognac diamonds, $750,000, assael.com.
Found only in the waters of Bermuda and the Caribbean, conch pearls are the most rare and valuable of all natural pearls. It’s estimated that one in every 10,000 conch produces a pearl, and only one in 100,000 conch produces a gem quality pearl.
Tara Pearls Platinum natural conch pearl necklace with 26.30 carats of conch pearls and 5.89 carats diamonds, $74,085, borsheims.com.
Fire Opals, or Mexican Opals, are found in Mexico in the colors brown, yellow, orange or ruby red. Opal is the world’s most popular phenomenal gem, and many cultures believe it has supernatural powers. Ancient Greeks believed the opal gave its owner the gift of prophecy and guarded them from disease. Europeans believed the opal was a symbol of hope, purity and strength.
Victor Velyan 18K gold Butterfly pendant with 192.78 carats Fire Opal, 26 carats black jade, 5.86 carats black diamonds and .32 carats white diamonds, price upon request, victorveylan.com.
Tanzanite can be blue, violet or purple. This extraordinary gemstone is considered the “gemstone of the 20th century,” and is only found in one place in the world, Tanzania.
Qayten 18K white gold ring with 5.62 carats tanzanite and 2.39 carats diamonds, $32,000, qayten.net
The Padparadscha Sapphire is intense light to medium pinkish-orange to orange-pink. It is found in Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Tanzania and Madagascar and is considered the most beautiful and rare gemstone in its natural form, with no signs of treatment.
Omi Privé Platinum and 18K rose gold Monaco ring with 5.73 carat oval padparadscha sapphire and .73 carats diamonds, $72,000, omiprive.com.