Throughout history, Sapphires have been prized as one of the world’s most elite gemstones for their alluring beauty and are still just as popular today. Sapphire has different meanings across the world and has been worn since ancient times, particularly adored by royalty. Although almost always associated with the colour blue, sapphires actually exist in a whole spectrum of colours such as blue, pink, yellow, purple, green, orange and black.
What exactly is a sapphire?
Sapphire is a type of corundum and is a very hard and durable mineral and for this reason is a popular choice for long term daily wear like an engagement ring.
Trace elements found in the sapphire can change the gems colour. Interestingly, corundum is actually colourless or white but other colours are produced when trace minerals are found in the gems colour. For example, chromium is responsible for pink sapphire colour but when the trace elements are iron and titanium, the sapphire turns blue! The only colour sapphires do not come in is ruby, as ruby is a gemstone in its own right.
Differences in intensity and shade of sapphire colour
Corundum crystals are naturally occurring and formed under the earth’s atmosphere millions of years ago which means that:
- Each sapphire has varying levels of trace minerals
- Colour will range in intensity and shade even if they look basically the same colour.
Let’s get technical…
Each sapphire must be examined in its own right.
Hue is the main colour of the sapphire.
Saturation is the vibrancy of the colour.
Tone describes the depth of the colour.
An example of this is a blue sapphire which is the most popular type of sapphire, however, these range from pale blue to a rich royal blue. Normally, sapphires with the most intense colour are considered as the most valuable.
The presence of chromium gives sapphires a distinct pink hue. Interestingly some say that pink sapphires are light rubies as they have the same trace elements in lesser quantities. Pink sapphires can come in hues ranging from light pink to dark fuchsia.
Yellow, orange or golden sapphires have iron impurities in them which gives them their bright, sunny colour. Yellow sapphires can range from pale lemon to greenish yellow and are the most loved by jewellery enthusiasts.
Top tip: Yellow sapphires are a great alternative to yellow diamonds because they have a beautiful colour and sparkle but are much more affordable.
Star sapphires can be blue, pink, black, grey, white purple or yellow. They are unique for their feature ‘asterism’ meaning they have a star light reflection inside them. Some star sapphires are more desired than others, for example; pink and blue are considered the best.
The king of sapphires
Padparadscha is a rare and highly sought-after sapphire. These are almost a pinkish orange colour with a rich intensity. A Padparadscha sapphire is considerably more expensive than any other fancy sapphire because of their unique colour which has been likened to a sunset. It is uncommon to see a lot of these as they are usually not sold as commercial jewellery.
What is the right colour for you?
With so many different colours and types to choose from, it’s hard to pick! Some people may go for a more subtle, understated look, whereas others may opt for a more striking, conspicuous gem. Buying any jewellery is ultimately down to personal preference and when choosing a sapphire, keep in mind that every colour is assessed individually and priced accordingly. Every sapphire is unique!
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