Polychrome jewellery

Did you know? In French the term "pierre semi-précieuse" (semi-precious stone) is no longer used and is replaced by "pierre fine" (fine stone). The tendency is generally at present to avoid a strict division between fine stones and precious stones

The vast, little known world of gemstones and minerals is one of enthusiasts.   It is a wondrous world packed with stories and secrets. 

In jewellery, stones are theoretically classed in three categories.The first is that of the four precious stones, that is to say diamonds, rubies, emeralds and blue sapphires.  The second is that of fine stones which includes amethysts, aigue-marines, topazes, tourmalines, citrines, peridots, etc. The third is that of the ornamental stones, often opaque, such as opals, jades, turquoises and onyxes.    

From the very start the jeweller Leysen became known for its predilection for coloured stones.  Decades passed, but brightly coloured diamonds (fancy diamonds) have constantly illuminated the display cabinets at Maison Leysen.

dessin broche panier leysen

In the 1970s, brooches in the form of butterflies and baskets of flowers or fruit become the brand’s spearhead.  Turquoise and lapis-lazuli were then musts.

broche mahardja

In the 1980s, there was the Maharadja collection that placed great emphasis on fine stones (Photo – brooch 110 ct sapphires in the broad range of colours of Madagascar)

Today, fine stones (less expensive and less well-known) have become decidedly fashionable since exceptional gemstones are becoming rare and deposits are running out.Tourmalines, spinels, morganites, peridots and cordinons are invading engagement rings as well as luxury jewellery creations.

Far from being a second choice, the purchase of a fine stone is an adventure flirting with magic. The choice is practically endless! Starting with the choice of the stone, the intensity of the colour, the weight (in carats) or the cut (oval, round, cushion, etc.).  If you travel in regions exporting gemstones, you may be tempted to bring back a few souvenirs.There are still bargains to be had but take care to obtain as much information as possible before leaving. Your jeweller will be able to give you the best advice to help you make the right choice.   


In 2002, in France, a decree prohibited the use of the term “semi-precieux" or “semi-fines” (“semi-precious” or “semi-fine”) since they could be understood to imply “half as beautiful” . In the English, the term “precious stone” was found to discriminate against other stones of equal beauty, value and rareness and now includes all natural stones of beauty and durability used in jewellery.