Panthère de Cartier braceletPanthère de Cartier bracelet

Seasonal Favorite: Neutral Colored Precious Stones

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HomeLearning CenterGemologyGem and Jewelry NewsSeasonal Favorite: Neutral Colored Precious Stones

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When people think of gemstones they often think of bright red rubies, blue sapphires, green emeralds and the like. But with high jewelry houses and jewelry brands alike leaning neutral this autumn, the trend is shining a light on natural gemstones in unique shades of taupe, brown, yellow and grey.

With many of these color trends that come and go, it's easy to look to popular, precious stones like diamonds and sapphires that come in an array of hues, including neutral ones. However, there's actually a dazzling range of neutral-colored stones that jewelers and consumers are reaching for these days.

"Morganite is a popular neutral-colored stone at CustomMade," Ty Wilson, Co-Founder, COO at CustomMade, told us. "Its softer tones strike a happy medium between the colorless sparkle of diamonds and the bright pop of rubies and sapphires."

In this piece, we're going to look at a handful of neutral-colored gemstones used by jewelers this season. Ranging from dark and dramatic to airy and sparkling, these gemstones may just change the way you look at color forever. 

Tiger's Eye

A metamorphic rock that ranges in shades of brown, orange and yellow, the Tigers Eye stone has a smooth, almost silky appearance thanks to its chatoyant properties that give it a striking optical effect. With its beautiful light-reflecting effect and warm brown coloring, the Tigers Eye even gives a wonderful vintage, 1970s vibe. We've seen this stone used everywhere this season from luxury, classics like Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra collection to Tiffany's Elsa Peretti

Small Bone Cuff Elsa Peretti Tiffany @ Co
Small Bone Cuff Elsa Peretti Tiffany @ Co.
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at Tiffany and Co.


Strikingly black, like staring into total darkness, theonyx stone is a type of chalcedony, which is itself a form of microcrystalline quartz. Famously black, the Onyx is the perfect precious stone to incorporate if you're looking for something neutral and versatile but no less striking.  A durable jewelry stone, Onyx has a hardness of 7, making it durable enough for everyday wear. But, that doesn't mean it's not incorporated in high jewelry, either, like Cartier's Panthère de Cartier, where Onyx makes up the panther's iconic spots.

Panthère de Cartier bracelet
Panthère de Cartier bracelet, yellow gold 750/1000
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at Cartier


The yellow variety of quartz, Citrine has a warm color that leans more golden than lemony, giving it a very neutral, natural appearance that looks incredible against yellow gold, white gold and silver alike. For those who want to go neutral but still incorporate some color and warmth, Citrine is a beautiful choice. David Yurman's 18kt yellow gold Châtelaine citrine and diamond ring is an incredible example of this golden stone against yellow gold creating a strikingly neutral aesthetic.

David Yurman 18kt yellow gold Châtelaine citrine and diamond ring
David Yurman 18kt yellow gold Châtelaine citrine and diamond ring
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Brown Topaz or Smoky Quartz

Brown Topaz, also referred to as Smoky Quartz, is one of the most recognizable and popular Quartz colors on the market. Distinctly brown, but also ranging darker on the spectrum towards black, Brown Topaz is a stunning neutral-colored stone that can bring a lot of depth and allure to your collection. Interestingly, you'll most often see Brown Topaz cut into an emerald cut because that maximizes color and retains the most weight. It's an expensive and fancy-looking cut for an otherwise well-priced gem, providing a lot of value for the wearer. This season, we're loving examples like 42 SUNS 14-Karat Gold Smokey Quartz Ring — not only do the gold and brown play off each other beautifully, but it's a beautiful example of how this cut really suits the gem.

42 SUNS 14-Karat Gold Smokey Quartz Ring Mr. Porter
42 SUNS 14-Karat Gold Smokey Quartz Ring Mr. Porter
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at Mr. Porter

Gray Spinel

In a world where color often reigns supreme, grey might seem like the least interesting gemstone color. But, the Gray Spinel really shows just how dazzling, reflective and cool this color can be. Spinel gemstones are particularly known for their clarity and luster, making even the gray variation a spectacular example of the gemstone variation. Because of its cool undertones, the Gray Spinel looks particularly great with platinum or white gold, but we've seen this stone paired many different ways, often with other stones like diamonds, too. This holiday season, we loved fresh, modern examples like Eleux's Toi et Moi Grey Spinel stud earrings that feature pear and square cut Grey Spinels.

Toi et Moi Grey Spinel Earrings Eleux
Toi et Moi Grey Spinel Earrings from Eleux
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at Eleux


As Tyler of CustomMade pointed out, Morganite is another neutral-colored stone that's growing in popularity, especially this season. Although it ranges in coloring from light pink to purplish-pink and orangy-pink, this stone is especially known for its pale, blush-like coloring that's light, clear and not very saturated. The salmon-colored Morganite stones are the most popular and neutral of the variation, and it might surprise you to learn that Morganite is much more rare than diamonds. But lucky for you, you can get these neutral-colored stone at a much better price. This holiday season, we have our eyes on a really contemporary fascinating of the stone by Selim Mouzannar that features an emerald cut Morganite surrounded by black enamel and white diamonds. Strung by a matching rose gold chain, this is a beautiful example of neutral stone executed in a luxe way.

Mina black pendant morganite Selimmouzannar
Mina black pendant morganite from Selimmouzannar
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at Selimmouzannar

Cate Misczuk

Cate Misczuk is a jewelry and watch writer who covers everything from the latest jewelry trends and the heritage of watchmaking to 24k gold, gems, sustainability, unisex timepieces and more. Get in touch at

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