How to Color Gems

How to Color Gems has always looked difficult but it turns out they’re not as hard as you might first think. Recently I’ve seen a number of colored pictures where the colorist has added some beautiful colored gemstones. They look magnificent and the way these gems seem as if they have a glossy, glassy shine on them is simply magic. 

So how do you learn to color gems?

From the research I’ve been doing, there are a number of YouTube video tutorials on how to color gemstones. My recommendation for the best place to go to help you learn about all kinds of gemstone coloring is the YouTube channel called Virtruvian Art. This is the YouTube Channel of the talented artist Amanda Rose Rambo.  Amanda has made some great video tutorials showing how to color many different types of gemstones. She also produces great adult coloring books with gem stone themes as well as a series of cute characters called “Cutie Patooties”. You can find Amanda’s coloring books in her Etsy store or on Amazon (US)

I learned the basics of how to color gems by watching one of Amanda Rose Rambo’s YouTube video tutorials. The link to this video is “Gemstone Basics with Colored Pencils”. You’ll also find it in the table below. I highly recommend checking out this video as the first place to go if you want to learn how to color gemstones. In her video, Amanda clearly explains the concept of light source and demonstrates how to color a smooth gemstone. Once you understand the basics of light and its impact on a gem stone, it becomes easier.

Here’s a picture of my first attempt after watching the video…

Gem First Attempt

It’s not perfect but I thought it was a pretty good start.  The more I practice, the better they’re getting 🙂 .

What Tools Do You Need to draw and color basic gemstones?

You can use any brand of colored pencils to create beautifully colored gems. You don’t need expensive brands to get great gemstone effects. Here’s a list of the tools you’ll need:

  • 3 – 7 Colored Pencils in your desired color ranging from light to dark
  • 1 dark contrasting color pencil
  • Colorless Blender Pencil
  • White pen for highlights (I use a Posca Paint Pen but a white gel pen such as a uni-ball Signo broad or a Sakura Gelly Roll in white will work as well).

It’s best to watch Amanda’s video to see how it’s done. This will give you a great start for coloring smooth gemstones.

If you are interested in learning how to color faceted gems, take a look at Peta Hewitt’s YouTube Video tutorial “Colouring Tutorial: Colouring Gemstones Two Ways”.

What colors should You use for different colored gem stones?

One of the things I couldn’t easily find while researching this technique was a list of pencil colors or pencil brand color IDs for coloring different gemstones. There were some videos out there but for ease of reference and for practice I thought I’d create my own to share with you.

Your gems can be any color. I’ve colored gemstones in Green, Blue, Orange/Red, Purple, Pink and Grey. For each color, I’ve also colored the gemstones using five different popular color pencil brands: Faber-Castell Polychromos, Faber-Castell Classic Colour, Marco Raffine, Crayola and Prismacolor Premier. For each gem color I’ve listed the colors I used beside the gemstone.

This Colored Gemstone Combinations page should give you a good start for a range of basic colored gemstones. You can also experiment with your own color combinations.

Links to:

Other Pictures where I have colored gemstones.

Tutorials and Demonstrations

There are a number of YouTube videos on How to Color Gems and in the table below you will find links to You Tube video tutorials I have found to be helpful in my quest to color gemstones.


Video Link / WeblinkPresenterVideo LengthOverview
Gemstone Basics with Colored PencilsAmanda Rose Rambo

Virtruvian Art

19:25Amanda explains the importance of Light Source to coloring gemstones. She also clearly demonstrates how to color a smooth Gemstone.
Colored pencil Gem TutorialAmanda Rose Rambo

Virtruvian Art

5:50In this video Amanda shows how to color a round gemstone and explains where you need to put your highlights.
Mulit color gemstone tutorialAmanda Rose Rambo

Virtruvian Art

15:55This video takes you through how to color a multicolored gemstone.
Colouring Tutorial: Colouring Gemstones Two Ways.Peta Hewitt25:20In this video Peta demonstrates how to color both faceted and round gemstones.
Gemstone coloring tutorial: prismacolor colored pencilsCat Thomas8:14Cat Thomas demonstrates how she colors a gemstone using Prismacolor Pencils.
How to Draw Gemstones with Prismacolor PencilsArtzyfartzy3:50This quick video shows how to color an orange gemstone using Prismacolor color pencils