The birthstone of individuals born in September and the traditional gift for couples celebrating their 45th wedding anniversary, sapphire is one of four most popular and sought-after gemstones. The others naturally include – diamonds, emeralds, and rubies.
Made from a combination of the mineral corundum, which includes trace elements of iron, titanium, magnesium, and more, sapphires are commonly available in the color blue.
However, sapphires come in a variety of colors, excluding red. And recent years have seen a growing desire for less traditional, non-blue sapphires. The following is a brief guide of the various sapphires available.
Before outlining the various types of sapphires available, let’s review a few quick historical facts about the popular gemstone.
- Ancient Persians believed sapphires were the pedestal the earth rested on and its reflection is what gave the sky its blue color (Source)
- The original Latin name for sapphire is “sapphiru”, which means blue (Source)
- Sapphires are found in various locations around the world, including – Afghanistan, Cambodia, China, Columbia, Ethiopia, India, and more. (Source)
- Gifting someone a sapphire is considered a symbol of trust, loyalty, and sincerity. (Source)
- Sapphires are the second-hardest of all gemstones, after diamonds. (Source)
- Color is the most significant factor when pricing a sapphire, with the natural, untreated blue stones being the most expensive. (Source)
Types of Sapphires
Since many immediately associate sapphire with its blue state, blue sapphires are unsurprisingly the most popular of all types of sapphires. Available in various shades, blue sapphires are regularly assessed and priced based on the purity of their blue state. A pure blue sapphire is likely to cost more than a violet-blue sapphire.
Increasingly popular in recent years, pink sapphires get their color due to the presence of chromium. Pink sapphires come in various shades, including light pink and deep magenta, depending on the level of chromium present.
With colors ranging from greenish-yellow to orange-yellow, yellow sapphires have increasingly become a very popular sapphire in recent years. Its bright and warm color is a result of the presence of iron within its chemical makeup.
One of the more unconventional colors, orange sapphires are particularly appealing for their uniqueness. Extremely rare, there are no substitutes for an orange sapphire. Ranging from deep golden to deep orange and mandarin, orange sapphires offer a fiery blast of color.
Teal Montana Sapphire
As the name suggests, Teal Montana Sapphires get its name from its location of origin in Montana, USA. Mostly pale in color, Teal Montana Sapphires come in shades ranging from ocean blue to light green. Teal Montana sapphires are commonly found in three key areas of Montana – Rock Creek, Cottonwood Creek, and near Helena, at the Missouri River.
Commonly associated with trust and loyalty, green sapphires also symbolize tranquility and calm. Appealing for its rarity, the presence of iron in its chemical makeup, is what gives the stone its stunning hue. Green sapphires have grown increasingly popular in recent years for engagement rings.
Believed to help enhance one’s intuition and awaken their consciousness, purple sapphires come in various shades of purple, from lavender to violet. Very rare, the beautiful stone gets its color from the presence of vanadium within its chemical makeup.
Colorless and transparent, despite its misleading name, white sapphire gets its presence due to the lack of any trace mineral within its chemical makeup. The rarest of all sapphires, white sapphires, also known as “leucosapphire,” are increasingly becoming a popular substitute for diamond engagement rings.
Derived from the Sinhalese word “padma radschen,” which means lotus blossom, padparadscha sapphires are one of the most uniquely colored sapphires, with a salmon-like hue. Typically small in size, padparadscha sapphires are commonly an interesting color blend of pink and orange.
Believed to offer wisdom for success because it increases thinking power, star sapphires are named for their unique appearance. That includes a six-rayed star floating on a cabochon sapphire’s surface. Although available in various colors, yellow, green, and orange star sapphires are particularly rare.
Also known as bi-colored or polychrome, particolored sapphires, as the name suggests, are rare sapphires that are a combination of two or three color variations. The color tones typically include a combination of blue, yellow, and green. The stone’s color combination is due to the color change phenomenon – that is, under different lighting, a gemstone reflects a different color.
Fancy Colored Sapphire
A broad term for sapphires that come in a variety of uncommon colors. That includes peach, green, brown, and gray, to name a few. It also includes the colorless sapphires, such as the white sapphire, referenced above. Fancy-colored sapphires are typically rare, making them more desirable, versus the more commonly available blue, pink and yellow sapphires.
No matter your taste, sapphires are consistently one of the most uniquely stunning pieces of jewelry. If you lean towards the unconventional, rare stones, such as, the white sapphire are a perfect fit. And if your taste veers more towards the traditional, natural blue sapphires are always a great buy.