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You must also consider colour: your colouring, the colour of the clothes you wear, and the colour of the gems you buy.

In jewelry there are two basic areas of colour: the metal of which the jewelry is made, and the gems or other materials which are set into that metal. When analysing your colouring and self-image, decide whether you prefer the simplicity of metals alone or the more opulent look of gems. The “big four” stones diamonds, emeralds, rubies and sapphires are the most expensive and the most brilliantly coloured. The classic pearl is equally prized for its remarkable natural colour spectrum and distinctive shapes. Pearls are incredibly versatile and wonderfully romantic. There are numerous other fine coloured stones and materials which are also well worth collecting.

Stones that offer more subtle colour to complement the primary hues of the big four include opals, black onyx, aquamarine, blue lapis, turquoise, amethysts and malachite.

Hair colour will influence your gem selection because your natural hair colour generally dictates your skin tone as well. Blonde women have the most choice when it comes to accenting hair colour. Dark stones look best on blondes because they provide a more striking contrast. Redheads suit bright stones but should avoid deep red tones. For women with brown hair, pastels are the most attractive stones. Deep dark or black stones should be avoided because they do not provide enough contrast. Dark Brunettes look best in greens, reds and pastels and golden colours. Dark stones should be worn only if surrounded with a lighter contrasting stone like crystals or diamonds. For gray, silver or white hair the rules of contrast are forgotten as diamonds or crystals are impossible to beat. Black is also stunning for the woman with white hair.

The second most important area of personal colour is the skin. Skin tones are especially important when selecting pearls. Pearls should blend with your complexion: redheads pink cast, blondes creamy cast; and dark-haired women white pearl. The eyes are not of major importance when selecting jewelry unless you have striking eyes; then you should make the most of them by matching them with a stunning stone. Your clothes are far more important to take into account; your jewelry must not only blend but blend beautifully for the full effect. Gems do not have to match the clothes you are wearing, but they should provide a suitable contrast or blend compatibly, such as:

Red blue, white, gold, black or green stones; red stones from cherry to scarlet

Blue red, blues, black, white, gold

Yellow black; pearls with golden cast; blues and greens

White pale or dark stones

Spring White pastels

Winter White dark

Black any stone except deep sapphires, black onyx (unless highlighted with gold or contrasting stones)

Green deep red, purple, black, blue; any pearls except in gray cast

Pink pastel stones, pearls; dark stones

Gray black, red; pearls; if light gray – pastels

Orange red, black, green and other oranges; some pastels (avoid pink, purple and yellow)

Purple dark stones – black, green; most pastels (avoid pink, blue shades, oranges)

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