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Sunshine and stability: Pantone Colour of the Year 2021

09 Feb 2021

magazine showcase Pantone 2021

We’ve waited with bated breath for the Pantone Colour of the Year 2021… and we have two: ‘Ultimate Grey’ and ‘Illuminating’ – a dazzling yellow. Something to play with for Spring windows, suggests Belinda Morris. 

This is how Pantone, the colour service business, explains its decision,

Practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic, the union of PANTONE (17-5104) Ultimate Grey + PANTONE (13-0647) Illuminating is one of strength and positivity. It is a story of colour that encapsulates deeper feelings of thoughtfulness with the promise of something sunny and friendly.

A message of happiness supported by fortitude, the combination… is aspirational and gives us hope. We need to feel that everything is going to get brighter – this is essential to the human spirit.

Well Amen to all that of course.

So how will these two colours translate into the world of gems and jewellery? My advice is not to worry about exact interpretations of the shades – as long as the yellows are bright and sunny and the greys are somewhere in the mid-range, you’ll have captured the vibe. Call it artistic license.

So, for ‘Illuminating’ consider: yellow diamonds; citrine; yellow sapphire, chrysoberyl, topaz and sphene; yellow (rather than orange) amber; enamel and bright shiny gold. ‘Ultimate Grey’ could encompass grey diamonds; grey pearls; grey smoky quartz; labradorite; pyrite and matte, brushed silver. Gemmologists will no doubt have more suggestions.

Here’s my selection of a few pieces (including some yellows and grey together) that fit the bill rather nicely.

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702 Sarah Alexander Sahara Sun jpg

Sarah Alexander (labradorite, citrine & yellow quartz) Sahara Sun



528 Deakin and Francis jpg

Deakin & Francis (tennis balls)


Franck Herval


Gemex (yellow diamond)

Hockley Mint

Hockley Mint (yellow sapphire)

Maviada citrine

Maviada (citrine)

Mishanto yellow

Mishanto (citrine, peridot & prehnite)

Pippa Small

Pippa Small


Nomis (laboratory-grown yellow sapphire)

Sarah Alexander Calla Earrings

Sarah Alexander (silver and gold vermeil)

Tivon Fine Jewellery lemon quartz

Tivon (lemon quartz)


Yaa Yaa London (lemon druzy)



Alexis Dove jpg 

Alexis Dove (grey diamond)

Deakin and Francis grey - Copy

Deakin & Francis



Gecko 1


London Road

London Road (labradorite)

834 Mishanto

Mishanto (labradorite)

Natalie Perry Jewellery,

Natalie Perry (grey diamond)

583 Sarah alexander jpg

Sarah Alexander (moonstone, onyx and labradorite)

Yaa Yaa London

Yaa Yaa London (moonstone)

946 Maya-Selway-14

Maya Selway (moonstone and grey diamond)

Claudia Bradby

Claudia Bradby (grey pearl)


Don’t forget to update your Find a Jeweller profile

You may choose to highlight Illuminating and/or Ultimate Grey pieces in your Find a Jeweller profile, the NAJ’s online member directory where we send consumer and trade enquires.

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Source: The National Association of Jewellers