Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Colour IS A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND

All that sparkles on your finger doesn't have to be clear

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I think Carol Channing said it best in the Broadway musical Gentlemen Prefer Blondes -- diamonds are a girl's best friend. I love the sparkle and glint that radiates from each facet -- who doesn't?

One of my favourite places in the city to browse these precious stones is Birks. Not only is Birks in one of the most beautiful buildings in the city, with its marble floors and high Beaux Arts features, but the lighting there makes everything look spectacular.

Being there makes me feel like a kid in a candy store oohing and aahing at all that glitters, which got me thinking -- why not do a column about candy-coloured diamonds and semi-precious stones and their emerging popularity.

So I reached out to the experts to get the lowdown on coloured diamonds and gemstones. What I learned was dazzling.

"Coloured diamonds can technically be considered as coloured gems," says Eva Hartling, director of public relations and events at Birks. "Diamonds can take on different tones and can range from colourless to yellow, brown, grey, orange, green, blue, white, black, purple, pink and the extremely rare red."

These intensely hued precious stones are referred to as fancy-coloured diamonds and can demand a pretty penny due to their rarity. Priced somewhat lower are gemstones or semi-precious stones such as sapphires, emeralds or rubies, which wasn't always the case.

"Coloured gemstones have been popular for centuries -- at one point colourless diamonds were even worth less in value than coloured gems such as rubies or sapphires. But the recent rise of popularity of coloured stones is attributed to Jennifer Lopez's engagement to Ben Affleck, now a decade ago, when he proposed with a very large pink diamond engagement ring," says Hartling.

And the celebrity fascination with the rarest of the rare didn't stop there. Since the Bennifer days, several other celebs have popped the question with a vibrant diamond. Hockey pro Mike Fisher purchased a five-plus carat yellow diamond ring, worth an estimated $150,000, for Carrie Underwood and Seal bought a canary yellow bauble of similar value for Heidi Klum prior to their breakup in 2012.

But don't worry ladies -- you don't need a man on bended knee to sport one of these fabulous rings. Candy-coloured baubles are the new "it" purchase for women who want to treat themselves to a little self-indulgence without all the calories.

Got a suggestion for a future column

or a fashion trend worth following?

Email Connie Tamoto at

connietamotofashion@hotmail.com.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 16, 2013 E10

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