melee madness

Jewelry buyers are starting to see small colored gemstones being used in the jewelry designs today. Some times it is to create fades, rainbows, or an ombre effect with colors. These might be the same stone variety, or they might be in a range of different gemstones. The term "melee" seems to have come from a 17th century french term generally meaning "mixture" or “medley" and in the jewelry industry we refer to it as very small cut gemstones. Depending on who you are talking to, it mean cut stones below .15 or .20 carats. Either way it means very small gems which are usually used as jewelry accents, or set together in groups to create a mass of color. Most people in the trade apply this term to small round gems, but it is sometimes used for small squares also. Columbia Gem House uses the .15ct size when referring to our very small cut colored gems. This term was applied to small diamonds, but it also is used to describe the small very small sizes in colored gemstones that we cut so many varieties of.

In today's world, where designers are using much more color in their designs, small melee colored gemstones are increasing in popularity. Still you do not often see a wide range of sizes and gem varieties cut in these very small stones. Well, we can be a big help here.

Columbia Gem House is one of the largest producers of these very small gems. Today we have the widest selection of melee gem varieties anywhere in the world. This means we cut over 50 different gem varieties and colors, so whatever you are designing that calls for color melee, we will be able to help. We regularly stock melee from 1.5 to 3mm rounds, but at time we cut gems as small as 1mm. Imagine, putting tiny facets on a gem half the size of a pencil point! Well, it can be done and the effect of these tiny gems in jewelry is quite mesmerizing.

So what do we cut? We cut melee in ruby, sapphire, and emerald, but it is more than that. The sapphires are cut in shades of blue, yellow, gold, purple, green, and pink, and then of course if they are red they are ruby. We do more than just cut all these colors though. We get our rough from many different mines on many different continents, and we track and store them separately. If you want to do a design with a focus on Australia, we have blue and fancy sapphire from Australia, all kept separate from all other origins. Maybe you want to do some with just American gems, we have melee in ruby from Wyoming and sapphire in a wide range of colors from Montana. We cut a lot of beautiful colored stone melee, but really so much more.

By cutting and stocking over 50 different gem varieties in small melee sizes, we can offer virtually every color in the rainbow...and that is a rainbow from anywhere in the world. Blues come in aquamarine, sapphire, iolite, tanzanite, tourmaline, turquoise and zircon. Yellows and golds are available in citrine, sapphire, precious topaz, and garnets. Bright and rich purples in amethyst, garnet and sapphire. Then there are greens that are available in different shades of tsavorite garnet, imperial diopside, tashmarine, and beryls, including emeralds. Garnet, ruby, and tourmaline are some of the red options. These are the primary and secondary colors, then you get into tertiary colors like the peach colors of padparadscha sapphire, tourmaline and topaz, and the electric blue/greens of seafoam tourmaline and apatite, or the red-orange of opals from Mexico and Oregon. So if you are looking to do interesting color combinations, consider using melee in Amethyst and peridot, or tanzanite and pink tourmaline together. Or maybe you want to do an ombre of color so you might look at options in sapphire, beryl, or garnet. Whatever gem variety, or whatever color you are after, we will options for melee stones in the sizes you need.

In future articles we will look at different aspects and usage of melee cut colored gems, but coming from the old french term for mixture, we can mix and match to meet your needs for colored melee you may want to design with.