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Shades of Red For Valentine's Day

Rubies, which display a fiery red hue, have long been associated with romance and have a history, particularly in Europe, as a popular engagement ring gem. When Britain's Prince Andrew asked for Sarah Ferguson's hand, he presented the future duchess with a ring with a ruby centerstone surrounded by diamonds. Anniversary bands ringed with small rubies or with alternating rubies and diamonds are also in demand.

And, for Valentine's Day, what beloved could resist a ruby pendant? Or ruby earrings? Maybe with heart-shaped rubies? Diamonds are white and sapphires are blue, right? Not always. There are pink diamonds and pink sapphires, and both gems are as prized - and sometimes more so - in their pink varieties as they are in their more well-known shades.

Pink diamonds, particularly, are among the most desirable of jewels and in recent years they have become the status symbol engagement ring gemstone among Hollywood's wealthiest and most discriminating brides. Diamond earrings and diamond right-hand rings are always popular for Valentine's Day. Fizzy pink diamonds make these perfect Valentine's Day gifts all the more perfect.

Garnet is said to have been so named because of its resemblance to pomegranate seeds. This deep crimson gem is a less expensive choice than ruby, pink diamond or pink sapphire, and works well when a large number of gems are called for in a piece of jewelry, as in a strand necklace or multi-stone chandelier earrings.

This season, when colored gemstones are so very fashionable, garnet jewelry can be the perfect accompaniment to a red or burgundy evening dress, or serve as a dramatically contrasting complement to a white one.

Tourmaline is a gem that comes in a wide variety of colors. Indeed its name comes from the Sinhalese term for more colors. Its pink and red varieties - often heated or irradiated in the cutting process to improve their hue - are called rubellites and are especially lovely. One of the most interesting varieties of tourmaline is termed bi-color or more descriptively, watermelon tourmaline; in this variation, vibrant shades of pink and green are combined in a single distinctive gem.